“I was a bet?!”: Introducing Jodea-2021 (Reviewed)

The romcom feels like a lost genre. Sure, Netflix has kept it sputtering along with one or two a year to varying results but there was a time when the romcom was a can’t miss prospect for studios. Two movie stars fall in love, a litany of fun supporting players surround them, hijinks ensue, watch the magic happen. In a time where studios are committed to IP and capturing the next Marvel-like success, movies for adults have been relegated to scraps. Thankfully, the indie scene is absolutely littered with the kinds of films Hollywood used to make. One such offering is Introducing Jodea from director Jon Cohen. Unfortunately, this stunningly regressive effort isn’t going to reignite the genre any time soon. 

Written by and starring Chloe Traicos, Introducing Jodea follows fast food working and wannabe actress Jodea and struggling director for his next hit Zac Kowalsky (Jeff Coppage). Fighting for her big break, Jodea is fired from Zac’s latest movie as a PA due to budget cuts. Zac hasn’t had a hit in years and is just coming off of a drug scandal. Soon after discovering both of their partners are cheating on them, the two get into a car accident. Zac writes Jodea a check to cover costs but she chases him down inside his agent’s office begging for a role. Her audition proves disastrous but through zany plot convention, Zac and his agent make a bet: Mold Jodea into a convincing actress in a week and the agent will convince his client, Hollywood superstar, Ethan Burns, to be in the film. Along the way they just might fall in love.


A premise fit for 1998, it’s the single biggest detriment to the film.  There’s nothing wrong with treading familiar territory but there’s something wildly out of touch about “disheveled, wacky girl dresses up and proves her worth to a man in power.”  Almost none of the jokes land because they’re at the expense of the uneven power dynamic. And even if that didn’t matter, the leads aren’t up to delivering them. Lacking any chemistry, they flounder in a script out of time. Not for a second do you buy that these two like each other let alone have romantic feelings. Their relationship is formed almost entirely around Jodea continuously looking like a buffoon while Zac stares at her befuddled. Aren’t we past the point of a woman having to debase herself before a man “sees” her for who she truly is? This isn’t romantic, it’s depressing. It’s a retrograde non-com top to bottom. The worst of this being an absolutely horrendous running bit wherein Jodea’s best friend repeatedly asking Black women if they like Malcolm X as a pick up line. Played as if it’s a joke on him until it isn’t, the bit just falls entirely on its face. Like the rest of the comedy within, it flies right past being self aware into this bizarre zone that’s both outdated and staggeringly unfunny. 

If there’s a highlight it has to be the editing, also done by director Cohen. There’s a pretty terrific pace to this and he makes clever choices. So much so that you almost invest in the proceedings because Cohen effortlessly blends the various threads together. It’s a genuinely sad state when the best one can come up with to praise this is “the editing was fine?”

It’s not fun to tear down a film clearly made with passion, joy and on a shoestring. It’s especially frustrating when it’s offering up the kind of film most places just aren’t anymore. Introduceing Jodea simply doesn’t cut it. A poor script with performances that frustratingly never gel, there’s just nothing here. 

-Brandon Streussnig