By BY RICK BENTLEY
| TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE |
APR 02, 2019 | 2:45 AM
It wasn't a case of art imitating life for Nikki SooHoo while filming the romantic comedy "The Browsing Effect." Unlike her character, who spends an extended amount of time on dating apps, the Southern California native was in a long-term committed relationship that had started before the apps had become popular. That didn't stop her from seeing how the internet had changed the dating process.
"This film totally shows what is going on in the dating world right now," SooHoo says. "That's what is so interesting about the film. I feel it is actually showing behind the curtain of what is happening to people in the way they are interacting. A lot of time, you are dealing with people you have no prior connection with and so there is almost like no screening.
"At first glance they can seem normal, and then you will realize 'I didn't know that about you.' You will go back and forth with somebody and then suddenly they are gone, and you are wondering 'What happened?'"
In "The Browsing Effect," director/writer Michael K. Feinstein looks at how dating apps send a group of friends into a swirl of sex, jealousy and self-doubt. The ensemble cast also includes Megan Guinan, Josh Margolin, Drew Fonteiro, Gabriela Lopez and Larry Powell.
SooHoo is happy "The Browsing Effect" doesn't come down on one side or the other when it comes to the social media dating world. It looks at how the process can be successful for some while a complete mess for others.
"The film is very real about what happens while at the same time you can see with these apps that we are able to connect with people we would have never been able to connect with. We are now introduced to a spectrum of people that helps us learn to be accepting of others and to be open-minded about dating other people rather than just those in our inner circle," SooHoo says.
SooHoo liked working on "The Browsing Effect" for a similar reason. It is not just dating tales; the film also looks at the friendships between the characters and how changes in a love life can impact those relationships. The stories weave in and out, stopping only for the characters to talk directly to the camera about what is happening in their love life.
The moments when the characters speak directly to the audience might look improvised, but they are completely scripted. SooHoo finds the moments a little more difficult on an acting level because it is important to memorize the lines exactly rather than having the freedom to make some adjustments to sound more conversational when working with other actors.
Not having anyone to speak directly to in a scene is no big deal for SooHoo, as she has been able to mix in voice work with her on-screen acting jobs. She's provided voices for characters on the TV series "Shimmer and Shine" and in the video game "Dropzone."
The relationship SooHoo was in while working on "The Browsing Effect" ended, and she now likes the convenience online dating provides. That's because the actor, best known for her roles in the movies "The Lovely Bones," "Stick It" and "Bring It On: Fight to the Finish," is quite busy with her acting career. Along with her film career, SooHoo has a recurring role on the Fox medical drama "The Resident," and she's the voice of Eila in the animated series "Star Wars Resistance."
"I love doing voice work because it is really cool to be able to transform into anything. You can transform sex. You can transform age. You can transform into a whole other being like a monster or an animal. That is definitely a lot harder to pull off in the live-action stuff," SooHoo says. "I love doing voice work because I get to grow by getting to do different characters.
"It's nice to be able to pull off those different roles. I can't pull off playing a 10-year-old boy anymore, but I can with my voice."
"The Browsing Effect" will be available through On Demand and Digital HD starting April 9.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.