Jimmy O'Brien works in the stockroom of a grocery store, where he is reminded of his powerlessness by his boss. Only his love for his wife offers him comfort, but their obligations to his invalid grandmother and a new baby stifle their dreams. It is not until open-mike night at the local comedy club that he allows himself to do what he needs to do: run off at the mouth. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
This is a well-done man vs. himself movie, with a downward spiral that is more moderated and even than most of those sorts of stories. This isn't a party people, drug-addled downward spiral, or a thug life, violence-addled downward spiral -- it's just a normal life, unfortunate circumstances, rut-addled downward spiral.
I liked the comedy routine gimmick most of the time, and it provided an off-beat break from the otherwise bleak and mostly mundane storyline -- that being the life of Jimmy, who has become trapped in a sour, unfulfilled plane of his own existence, partly due to circumstance and partly due to a poisoned outlook on life.
Those who have said "don't watch this for a pick-me-up" are absolutely correct -- this is a painful movie that is likely to leave you with a grimace, or at least a furrowed brow. It's a sad but not unrealistic testament to the kind of unsatisfying, confounded lives that are lived by plenty of people every day. Lonely, uncomfortable with the results of one's life, yearning for something more but chained down by the shackles of life (imagined or real, or both).
Another reviewer here asked what value there is to be had from this movie. The answer is that it serves as a reminder of lives that have neither a happy ending, nor an over-done, trite, or bizarre bad ending. It's the photo negative of "Falling Down", in a way, where the Michael Douglas character doesn't clench his jaw and go on a beeline ass-kicking spree across town -- he just clenches his jaw and keeps trudging along as dark turns to black. (And does an equally-grim stand-up comedy act, which gets better as it goes along, without ever getting funny.)
It definitely deserves a better rating than the 4.4 it has now. I gave it a 7. There's nothing wrong with it aside from the fact that it portrays a pretty ordinary, unfortunate life story. It does that well, and the comedy routine thing is a nice quirk.
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