Sometimes the big city can bring a lot of you, including your search of love after heartbreak. This appealingly familiar premise unfolds in Nicolas Heller’s hilarious short Out of Order, a delightfully immature look at man’s desperation and a love letter to New York City.
Comedian Kareem Rahma stars as Ernie, an affable 30-something guy who just wants to get to his date, but his bowels and the city he lives in, New York, get the better of him. During his rough series of misadventures, he runs into several colorful characters who constantly get his way of love and a toilet. After being thrown out of his uncle’s limo, he realizes that maybe he wasn’t meant to make it to his date or at a second chance at love after his painful divorce. However, a man wearing a diaper inspires him keep going, and find his bathroom. He finds it… in a public fountain. When he finally makes it to his date, the woman he was probably going to start a new life with is gone. Feeling defeated, he sits in an outdoor restaurant, wondering if all this chaos was worth it. He discovers that it is when a female store cashier (one of those colorful people he meets during the 19-minute run time) walks in, shows him the viral video of his defecation in the fountain, and invites him to go with her to meet some friends. In this case, he gets that second chance and learns a big lesson: just go the bathroom before you leave home.
It could have easily devolved into gross-out gags for the sake of it, but this short manages to mostly avoid that while telling a relatable and honest story of an ordinary man just trying to find his place to poop. It’s also another of those New York stories where the city is obviously a character itself. Ernie is constantly being one upped by it, and you get to see how a bad day looks when you’re a New Yorker.
Rahma is really sweet in the role of Ernie. You’re with him from the very beginning of his journey. He could have turned the character into a one-note sad sack, but Rahma has enough charm and likability to rise above all that.
Despite the adult language and toilet humor, it made me fall even more in love with New York, and makes me want to live there, even with all the seemingly limited bathroom shortage.