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1 item from 2003

Martin & Orloff

14 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Spit and Glue Distribution

NEW YORK -- Genuinely anarchic comedy is so rare in today's cinema -- "Scary Movie" and its ilk notwithstanding -- that this attempt from first-time director Lawrence Blume, written by and starring Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Katie Roberts of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, is to be commended for sheer ambition. A wacky comedy involving a suicidal marketing executive and his highly irreverent shrink, "Martin & Orloff" ultimately doesn't fully succeed in its comedic aspirations, but it does offer some genuine laughs along the way. The film is playing an exclusive engagement at New York's Sunshine Cinema.

Martin Flam (Ian Roberts) is the hapless exec, who has just returned to work after a stint in a mental hospital following an unsuccessful suicide attempt. As the film begins, he's vainly trying to clean dried blood from his bathroom floor. Ordered to see a psychiatrist, he unfortunately encounters Dr. Orloff (Walsh), who begins his treatment with the not-so-subtle query, "Why did you try to kill yourself?" Before the flustered Martin can respond, Orloff remembers he's late for a softball game, and drags his patient along to continue the session on the run.

After an ineffective stint as the game's umpire, Martin finds himself in a series of misadventures with his self-involved shrink as well as a variety of bizarre characters, including Orloff's sexually withholding stripper girlfriend (Katie Roberts)

a Desert Storm veteran (Jon Benjamin) who has the unfortunate habit of excreting in bathroom sinks

and another stripper (Amy Poehler), whose sexual fling with Martin leads to a series of confrontations with her massive, and massively well-hung, ex-boyfriend (Matt Besser). Eventually, we learn the secret behind Martin's suicide attempt, involving the accidental death of an actor whom he put in an egg roll costume unfortunately lacking eyeholes.

Various comedy stars provide cameos, including Tina Fey and Janeane Garofalo, with the most amusing contributions coming from Andy Richter as a nasty dinner theater host and David Cross as a fey director.

Highly uneven in its scattershot gags and less-than-assured direction, the film nonetheless provides a fairly steady series of laughs thanks to the fully committed performances by the two stars and the sheer brazenness of its humor. Instead of relying on cheap parody for its humor, "Martin & Orloff" at least tries to forge fresh comedic ground. »

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