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Two brothers share a house in LA's Fairfax district: Tony's a feckless actor, Chris is an accountant. Both are in relationships on rocky ground. As these emotions swirl, Tony meets his US Postal Service letter carrier, a single mom named Kathy who's come to LA from Wyoming with her daughter, a budding actress. Chris meets Anna, an Italian beauty working in the States for a few months wrangling animals on movie sets. Chris also befriends Clive, an aging and crusty man whose longing for his recently-deceased wife is a portrait of true love. Can Clive's example help Chris sort out his love life, and can Tony grow up enough to see the possibilities with Kathy and her daughter? Written by
SMILING FISH AND GOAT ON FIRE (2000) *** Derick Martini, Steven Martini, Christa Miller, Amy Hathaway, Bill Henderson, Rosemarie Addeo, Heather Jae Marie, Wesley Thompson. (Dir: Kevin Jordan) Independent filmmaking has always never failed in churning out a pleasant feeling little gem and continues that tradition in this funny and warm-spirited sleeper.
Chris and Tony Remi (played by real-life brothers Derick and Steven Martini) are very close brothers who share their family's house in Los Angeles and their Native American nicknames from their grandmother (Tony is the happy Fish and Chris the moody Goat) while trying to come to terms with their relationships between the women in their lives and themselves.
Tony is an actor who is having trouble maintaining commitment with his high-strung girlfriend Nicole (Marie) while Chris, a responsible accountant, is trying to find out why his gal Alison (Hathaway) is always crying in bed. After both brothers wind up without their ladies for reasons beyond their control they wind up at a Christmas party and the wound-licking Chris winds up chatting with an incredibly beautiful Italian woman named Anna (Addeo) and forgets about Nicole.
Meanwhile Tony has struck up a friendship with their mail carrier, Kathy (Miller from tv's 'The Drew Carey Show') who is a single mother whose daughter Natalie (Thompson) is a budding child actress who bonds with Tony at a shared audition. The three soon become inseperable and Tony realizes just how special they are to him.
To add to the equation, Chris caters to his stand-offish boss' elderly uncle, Clive Winter (Henderson) a retired film soundman who pioneered black cinema with the likes of Paul Robeson and teaches Chris some life lessons in love by telling him about meeting his wife, an assistant director, on the set of a film where they found love at first sight to be an overpowering lifeforce until her sad demise. Clive can see Chris clearly falling head over heels for the exotic Anna and plays matchmaker.
The film works primarily on the natural at ease the real-life brothers imbue for their characters and the easy going pacing by Jordan (who co-wrote with the Martinis; the threesome are best friends in real life) allows character development to glide effortlessly from scene to scene.
The Martinis are ably supported by the giddily charming Miller and the drop dead gorgeous Addeo as their perfect matches that you can't not help rooting for these four to stay together. Henderson also adds some magic as the voice of reason from the heart that doesn't ring false in what could easily have been a too cloying plot device.
A perfect date movie and a near perfect debut by three very talented guys.
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