starring Michael Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin, George Wendt
written by Kyle Marvin & Michael Covino
directed by Michael Covino
by Walter Chaw Michael Covino's The Climb paints a portrait of male friendship through a series of clever, tightly-scripted vignettes that depict the buddies in question at several points in their lives. It opens with Mike (director and co-writer Covino) and Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin) riding a bike up a steep grade--the perfect opportunity for Mike to confess to the less-in-shape Kyle that he's had an affair with Kyle's fiancée. It's a funny conceit carried by Mike and Kyle's rapport: Kyle, furious, can't quite catch up with Mike to kill him; Mike admitting that was the plan all along. The film then jumps forward to a funeral, a Christmas party (where Kyle's mom (Talia Balsam) says everything except what she means when recruiting a drunken Mike into her plan to separate her kid from the woman, Marissa (Gayle Rankin), whom everyone hates), a wedding, and so on, until finally lands it at a place where it becomes clear that despite the ever-changing circumstances of their lives, Mike and Kyle's friendship, like all good friendships, stayed exactly the same.