At the 2011 Austin Film Festival, Natalie Morales (TV's "The Middleman," "Parks and Recreation") and Martin Starr made no bones about their relationships with their "6 Month Rule" costars Blayne Weaver and Patrick J. Adams.
"We hate them, but [the two of us] get along great," Morales said with a sly grin.
"6 Month Rule" looks at the dating scene through the eyes of Tyler Watts, played by Weaver, who also directs. A freewheeling bachelor, Tyler has strict relationship guidelines. He thinks he has the whole dating scene figured out until he meets Sophie, the refreshing young artist played by Morales.
The actress thinks that while most people don't have rules like Tyler, they do have a certain way they operate: "It's the way you let your fears about life, people, and your relationships control what you do."
Morales said she does follow two main rules when she is dating.
"If someone is not treating you in a way that you like, remember that there are so many nice people out there," she said. "The problem is that when you love someone, you make excuses for that kind of behavior. 'Wow, they are treating me like [this] because they are angry at work or their dad ran away.' It doesn't matter; they shouldn't treat you that way."
The second rule, Morales said, is not to date anyone who is not cool to your friends: "That's a huge sign of what they really are. I have a few friends who are blind to that."
Starr plays Alan, Tyler's best friend and a man at the other end of the emotional spectrum. Where Tyler starts to "fade" a relationship that is becoming serious, Alan hopes for commitment, typically getting burned for his efforts. Alan tries to quietly leave his broken relationship with his fiancée (Jaime Pressly), but Tyler won't stand for it.
"As they say, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all," Starr said about his character.
Upon their first public meeting, Sophie isn't outwardly impressed with Tyler, referring to him frequently as that "creepy bookstore guy." Tyler's snappy patter doesn't impress Sophie, and her indifference makes her all the more attractive.
"Most people like to date someone who won't put up with their [attitude]," Morales explained. "Someone that will call them out is the most attractive. I think that's a general thing that both men and women like."
Starr said that instead of rules, he has gradually figured out the kind of person he is looking for.
"There are characteristics in human beings that are useful for me to have in my life," he said. "Besides the basic trace of normal attraction, having a similar sense of humor and a general appreciation for similar things [is important]. There's also having respect for each other. I know that I can't be with someone who doesn't want to achieve a deeper level of self-growth, to have a worldview that is really a worldview and not just selfish."
"6 Month Rule" is playing in limited release in the Los Angeles area.
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