This formulaic, so-called battle of the sexes, directed by tyro John Bozeman, has all the earmarks of a rejected pilot for a TV sitcom. Ed Marill, also the writer, takes an uncontrolled stab at the role of Jerry, an inarticulate, 20- or 30-something law student who may know the law, by the divine right of paternity, but has very little idea what's going on in his own heart or head. His roommate, Rod (T W Leshner), interning at Jerry's father's law firm, misplaced his moral compass a long time ago, in Carmen's (Paige Handler), Michelle's, Erica's, you name her, bed. What Jerry lacks in the relationship department, Rod makes up for in the dating game. When June (Jacqueline Hickel) shows up with a photo of the "perfect ring" to get Jerry off the dime, it takes only minutes for the Battle of Waterloo to begin. During the whole first act, the shrill sparring between the erstwhile lovers serves only to make obvious the point that these two were not meant to be together. If this were of the "cheer the hero, hiss the villain" genre, the advice would be, "Get out while you can, Jerry-life with this woman would be hell." By the start of Act II, Jerry has changed his mind. So has June. Now she wouldn't marry him on a bet, unless he changes his career, his family, his habits...or takes some acting classes. She'll even forgo the big diamond so they can live in happy poverty.
Much of the action takes place on cell phones, and the exposition fills in the quiet moments, when it's audible. Marill's dialogue aims for realism, the kind we usually hear on the street from other people on cell phones, and he accomplishes it. While Jerry and June tediously interact, Rod does it by cell, or playfully punches out the fourth wall to give us his in-depth insights into sex, women, and relationships. Jeremy Flynn's set nicely simulates a typical grungy bachelor pad, and Luke Mueller's music sets the scene-though why does Benjamin Gilton's sunflower painting, meant to be by June, have a distracting chocolate-pudding center?
Presented by Grain of Sand Productions at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. May 25-Jun. 18. (323) 960-1055. www.plays411.com/jerryandjune.