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
I saw"The Jimmy Show" at a screening at the American Film Market 2002 last week and, while it contains home truths about life in suburban America, I found it heavy going. The producers call it a bitter-sweet love story but to me it was more bitter than sweet. Its big problem lies in its lack of an underlying vein of hope and optimism so often necessary in a story of this genre.
Jimmy O'Brien describes himself as "young, fresh and angry" but is in reality a born loser with sticky fingers. Holding down a supermarket dead end job by the skin of his teeth, he has aspirations as a standup comedian. Every Tuesday on open-mike night at The Laughing Stock comedy club, he dies on stage at the hands of a tough, no-smiling audience but this is nothing compared with what is happening inside Jimmy. He is slowing strangling on his own lack of initiative, ambition and basic social graces. Thrown out of his market job for stealing cases of beer, he continues along a seemingly downward path without benefit of humorous relief.
Frank Whaley wrote the screenplay, directed, and plays the role of Jimmy, and when such vital chores are taken on by one man, I can't help thinking the movie has more than the usual biographical aspects and should more accurately have been called "The Frank Show". In supporting roles, Carla Cugino as his long-suffering wife and Ethan Hawke as his co-worker provide adequate performances.
Not recommended for those in search of a feel-good movie.
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