'Arlo and Julie' is a pleasantly quirky comedy


A lesser film than “Arlo and Julie” would be eye-roll inducing in its attempts to be quirky. The dialogue is reminiscent of “Juno,” with every character adopting an elegant but unfiltered stream-of-consciousness observations about the world around them.
The key plot point revolves around a mystery puzzle, delivered piece-by-piece by an unexpectedly wise mailman. The main characters, Arlo (Alex Dobrenko) and Julie (Ashley Spillers) are a live-in couple stuck in an emotional rut after years together. When the puzzle pieces start arriving, they become obsessed with their daily delivery, even as they begin neglecting everything else in their lives — including each other.
The film succeeds because of the strong performances at its core. Alex Dobrenko as Arlo and Ashley Spillers as Julie are adorable and believable in their portrayal of a couple whose passion is cooling. Director and UT Lecturer Steve Mims captures the hilarity of the neurotic situation while still showing the emotional core of how the characters’ relationship is strengthened and weakened over the mystery of the puzzle. The strong script — which Mims also wrote — and lead performances make “Arlo and Julie” a pleasant surprise.