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Les, a small-time celebrity photographer desperate to make it big, befriends Toby, a homeless young man with no direction except a vague desire to become an actor. When by chance Toby becomes romantically involved with K'Harma Leeds, the hottest pop star of the moment, Les grows jealous and plots revenge. Written by
Tom DiCillo is a cool New York-based independent filmmaker, and he's made some good stuff in the past (most notably as DP for Jim Jarmusch, and as the director of sleepers like the great Living in Oblivion), and I wish him the best of luck on anything he does. But on Delirious, he only gets it right some of the time. He's out to, at first it seems, make a satire on media hype and celebrity and the inanities of shallow attention given to people who don't do much to deserve it (if you need proof of that, watch the Soup on E!).
But then it goes a little in a different direction, which I respected and wanted to go along with, as a fable/fairy-tale where Toby (Michael Pitt) is just about the nicest, most generous and fish-out-of-dumpster homeless kid who somehow becomes an 'assistant' to fledgling photographer Les (Steve Buscemi), who shows him the ropes and introduces him to a casting director (Gina Gershon), and eventually- accidentally of course- falls into the company of a pop star (Alison Lohman) as the two all but fall in love on first sight.
Good premise, and scenes between Buscemi and Pitt most often work the best, and funniest, as one sees subtle layers peeled by Les's pathetic paparazzi who just doesn't admit he's not ambitious enough to be marginalized as a photographer. There's even some good comedy thrown around, the kind that is that strange absurdity that we also saw in 'Oblivion'. But, somehow, it just didn't all click for me after a while.
There's a very bitter pill being sent out in, often, very corny and ill-shot scenes (the latter of which I could accept, but for one brief instant, as Toby walks back to Les's place the morning after he's had that whirlwind night with Lohman, I was shocked at how cheesy a scene it turned into). The problem, also, is that it's difficult to mix such a delicate romantic/fable angle while also working in some mockery at the entertainment business. It's all in good amusement to see the "reality serial-killer" show being directed for "realism", but it all doesn't lead up to anything significant to say past some shallow messages.
Maybe I didn't see what others have been; it's become a minor little hit with most, and I'm sure if you have any desire to see actors like Buscemi and Pitt and Lohman (who is also very good) and Gershon (and hey, there's even a really hip and hilarious cameo from Elvis Costello) you'll seek it out anyway. However, it's not the best, or least obvious, game in town despite its solid indie cred.
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