Indie comedies love themselves some arrested development, but I Love You Both is able to put a fresh spin on the topic. Here, codependence is expressed via two main characters who have the same life as close to literally as possible. At 28, fraternal twins Krystal and Donny (real-life fraternal twins Kristin and Doug Archibald) still share a converted one-bedroom apartment, coordinating their activities and unwilling to separate for too long. One gets the sense that if they didn’t have to work, they’d never be apart. This changes when they both fall for Andy (Lucas Neff), and then realize that they’re sort of dating him at the same time. From there, they have a waiting game to see whom Andy “chooses,” even as it becomes obvious that their lifestyle is unsustainable.
Even at 90 minutes, I Love You Both feels padded. Everything to do with the main plot thread carries great emotional honesty. Doug Archibald also directs, and demonstrates an adeptness at utilizing awkward silences and pauses without making them a crutch or a lazy punchline, instead grounding the humor of the twins’ pettiness (sometimes childishness) in a serious treatment of their problems. But there are also parts that don’t seem to have a point other than be sort of amusing—chiefly ones involving the twins’ mother (played by the Archibalds’ actual mother, Charlene) or Krystal’s co-workers. If such scenes were a vector for more than pithy line readings, this would probably be more forgivable, but the movie finds its best humor in the friction grinding out from the idiosyncratic relational three-way between Krystal, Donny and Andy.
What’s most pleasantly surprising about I Love You Both is that even as it creates this friction, it doesn’t do so in order to split an artificial divide between Krystal and Donny. Rather, the drama comes from their growing awareness of their need for a change. To the great credit of the script (written by the Archibalds), much of this is clear but left unsaid, with the audience allowed to make their own inferences and draw their own conclusions.
I Love You Both perhaps would have been best imagined as a short, but it makes for a breezy watch. The film’s tone can sometimes be abrasive (a sample exchange between Donny and a young piano student: “You’re terrible at this. You should quit.” “Duh!”) but the relationship at its core is warm. It’s a sweet pill with a bitter coating, which is about as solid a date movie as you’ll get anymore.
Director: Doug Archibald
Writers: Doug Archibald, Kristin Archibald
Starring: Doug Archibald, Kristin Archibald, Lucas Neff, Charlene Archibald
Release Date: June 9, 2017