When Marla (Laney Smith) receives a call that her Aunt Helen (Laura Durant) is ill and cannot tend to her mail store, Marla decides to take a break from her redundant city life and head to the small town of North Lake to help her Aunt Helen.
There, she meets Jesse Collins (Michael Jason Allen). After dating for a while, Marla begins to recognize Jesse's playboy reputation. Coupled with the interference of vindictive mean girl Cora (Joanna Ke), whom is an ex-girlfriend of Jesse's, Marla puts a permanent hold on things.
Jesse then tries to convince Marla that she's wrong about him and he only has good intentions towards her, so he throws out a desperate plea by giving her references of his ex-girlfriends to try and clear his name.
Marla now finds herself playing detective to find out the real Jesse. It is this unique plea that takes the story into a twist of emotional ups & downs... and a second guessing of intentions by all involved.
After all is done, this town with no strangers will be changed forever.
Stories on the movie appeared in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Arizona Republic.
Film Critics Reviews:
"A good first effort by writer/director Jason Allen, buoyed by stronger lead performances than are usually found in independent films with an unknown cast. The unique concept makes it a different kind of date movie...one that should become a Festival crowd pleaser. But a girl foaming at the mouth truly scares me!
- Roger & Janet Tennis
"A likable premise crafted in a refreshingly wholesome and upbeat approach by Allen who wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film-- aptly named References-- provides a sweet and genuine escape from the raunchy or ridiculous antics thrown our way in most commercial rom-coms.
It's still a great rainy Saturday afternoon romantic comedy. In the end, References is rescued and elevated by the film's sheer Arizona beauty, a truly fresh sounding collection of songs on the film's soundtrack, Smith's perpetual smile (she looks as though she could be Sofia Coppola's younger sister), and Allen's ultimate dedication to make an uplifting film that its flaws are easily forgiven".
- Jen Johans