Rent-A-Pal | Chicago Reader
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Rent-A-Pal

Rent-A-Pal is a pre-Internet era look at the terrifying depths of isolation. Set in 1990, the film follows a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins) as he searches for love via a video dating service. A stereotypical nerd, David lives with his mother, Lucille (Kathleen Brady), providing for her as her dementia progresses. He uses this to his advantage in his dating profile, framing himself as a dutiful caregiver. David does not, however, land a date instantly. Instead, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by Andy (Wil Wheaton), the tape offers David a much-needed outlet, but it doesn’t take long for the relationship to become worrisome. A depressing sense of desperation and delusion permeates the movie, leaving an icky sheen over even the most promising moments, such as David matching with a woman named Lisa (Amy Rutledge), as each uncomfortable scene builds to an almost unbearable conclusion.

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