The Beta Test

Director: Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 2.5

Talent agent Jordan Hines (Jim Cummings) - who is totally not like he came out of the show Entourage (ahem) - receives a purple envelope in the mail with an invitation to have an "anonymous, no-strings-attached sexual encounter" at hotel in Los Angeles, so of course - despite being engaged - he has to go along with it, and finds himself smitten with his mystery partner ... and then goes searching for whoever started this perverse experiment.  As with Cummings' previous film Thunder Road, it's a tonal mish-mosh (it goes from relative calm to shouting and loud music), and him acting like a Goofy Goober when people are being murdered left and right feels ... odd (thankfully, not all cheaters in real life get stabbed to death).  That said, this is one of the more intriguing American indies of this year (2021): despite what the co-director says it's about - the plague of social media, data mining, "gatekeeping," etc. - I think what it's really about how we can mentally get "stuck in a moment" that we can't escape from and how the real questions we seek of life - what if that woman I had a fling with was my soul mate? - never get answered.  To quote musician Billy Preston, "If you can't love the one you want, love the one you're with."