Though Nipples and Palm Trees isn't without its eventual charms, the film is too content, for too long, to dwell on unfunny sleaze and thinly-sketched characters. There isn't much of a plot to speak of, with much of the film following thirty-something Jackson (Matthew James, who also penned the script) as he drifts from one empty sexual encounter to the next, and so everything the film does is channeled almost exclusively through him. But he isn't exactly the most likeable guy: a menace to happy ending-averse masseuses, he pats himself on the back for resisting the urge to backhand his main squeeze and would have both her and us believe that it all comes back to her. “When I jerk off in the shower, it's like I need you there with me,” he says by way of wooing the almost-battered woman. Where James and director Dylan Reynolds make things interesting is by making Jackson sympathetic largely in relation to the increasingly unhinged characters he surrounds himself with. Nipples and Palm Trees seemingly aspires to Bukowski-like heights, but it never succeeds in its attempts to instill this faux grittiness with enough substance or pathos to rise above its raunchy core and let its would-be emotional scenes hit the marks they're meant to. Though it improves with time, the milieu isn't immersive enough, nor the characters believable enough, for us to be especially invested by the time Jackson seeks (and, in his own way, finds) some semblance of redemption.
Dylan ReynoldsMatthew James, Sadie Katz, Akihiro Kitamura, Dallas Malloy, Vanessa Rose Parker, Cary Thompson, Will Morales, Jackie Kamm, Kiyomi Fukazawa, Anita RimjobMatthew JamesDylan Reynolds, Matthew James, Vanessa Rose Parker, Sadie KatzCinema Epoch