If homesick college freshman Alex (Cooper Raiff) spent as much time looking for companionship as he did telephonically complaining to his mom and sis about the lack thereof (or telepathically seeking comfort and advice from a plush dog), he’d be the most popular boy on campus. Jonesing for Maggie (Dylan Gelula), his dorm’s RA, doesn’t hurt Alex until the fateful night that a drunken party at the eponymous residence hall draws them together. Our cast of characters spend the first third of Shithouse gleefully shitfaced. (Logan Miller puts his own unique spin on roommate Sam, his generation’s toasted answer to Jeff Spicoli.) What happens when the girl of your dreams caps an idyllic initial encounter by spending the next few weeks (months?) denying your existence? Or worse, hooking up with someone else? Viewers will have no recourse but to laugh uncomfortably along while trying to cushion the pain of shared memory that the film tenderly evokes. In Alex, first-time writer-director Raiff unveils what is appreciably one of the sincerest, most credibly confused teen characters to come down the pike in some time. Even when the dialogue scenes go on too long, there is comfort in knowing that much of what comes out of these character’s mouths crackles with authenticity. Alas, a postscript made me wish the film had ended with a swipe right at the 94-minute mark; the concluding minutes add redundancy to this otherwise crisply-paced and trustworthy romantic comedy. (2020) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.