First Date, which premiered this week at - of all things - the Sundance film festival, is the epitome of a certain type of festival movie. With mid-budget publicity, it could easily compete in the winter wide release schedule, but for the fact that there isn't a big enough Name in front of or behind the camera to make that happen. Sure there are some rough indie edges, but it doesn't cost anything to write a funny script, and it's not like the star-studded My Spy or What Men Want or Like a Boss inherently deserve more space than these smaller movies.

First Date tells the tale of shy suburban teenager Mike (Tyson Brown), who stumbles ass-backward into asking out girl next door Kelsey (Shelby Duclos) and arranging a date for that night. He panics when he finds out his parents are going out of town, thus preventing him from borrowing the car. He visits local sleazebag Dennis (Scott E. Noble) to purchase a junker with piggy bank money, neither of them realizing that the car is a pivotal asset in a book club/drug gang's delivery gone wrong, and they will do anything to track down the car, including murder most foul.

The ultimate goal a film comedy must accomplish is to be funny, and First Date does this, so if that's all you need to know, go forth and watch! Alright, now that I'm left with the True Cinephiles, let's get down to brass tacks. First Date is indeed funny, in as objective a way as it's possible to be about such a thing. On the recent action-comedy scale, it's firmly above Stuber and Lovebirds, but staring wistfully up at Game Night.

Unfortunately, although Tyson Brown is delivering an excellent, naturalistic performance, Mike just isn't too interesting of a character to hang all this on. He's meant to be the straight man for all the mayhem around him, but he's nothing more than reserved and reactive from square one, only asserting his agency in a brief monologue in the third act that comes out of nowhere and ties up a thematic thread that the movie gave no indication actually existed before then.

This character needs to have a little more thrust in the narrative and variety in how he responds to it, because the movie's tendency to slide into cartoonish theatrics needs a stronger core to help everything feel like it's occurring in the same universe.

And about those rough edges I mentioned earlier. First Date is dogged by the awkward sound mixing that plagues altogether too many indie features. The dialogue is always audible, thank the Norse gods. But sometimes the Foley work gets overzealous and footsteps, splashing puddles, and the like exuberantly leap to the top of the mix, dragging your attention away from what is actually going on. There's also a somewhat inelegant use of common film language, most glaringly in the entrance of the leader of the gang. The camera avoids showing his face until the end of the scene, where it pans up his body to reveal... someone we've never met before. Cue balloon deflating sound effect.

But I didn't come here to complain about First Date. I really had a terrific time watching it, it's just best to be prepared for the parts that aren't exactly going to knock your socks off. It's a silly adventure through that everpresent teenage feeling that things somehow just keep spinning completely out of control. I do wish the creators had done more to elevate Kelsey away from being a hollow Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype (Wow, she loves 8-tracks! She's really listening to music the way God intended.), but her chemistry with Mike is vibrant, and you feel for each of them as they face their disappointment with romance and also reality in general.

First Date would actually be an excellent first date movie, because it's just weird and off-the-beaten-path enough that you can see if you and your partner's taste for strangeness align properly without diving immediately into the really off-putting corners of cinema Take it from me. Sometimes you have to ease people into things and avoid letting the only thing they're drawing their judgment of your tastes from be Sorority House Massacre.

Brennan Klein is a millennial who knows way more about 80's slasher movies than he has any right to. You can find his other reviews on his blog Popcorn Culture. Follow him on Twitter, if you feel like it.