This was a difficult film, in that I found myself inspired by what it could have been instead of what it actually was. On the surface, it appears to be a standard-issue, dark, indie comedy but, frustratingly, there are ideas at work here that flirt with brilliance. The plot is deceptively simple: sad sack gets dumped, evicted and fired and returns to his childhood home for some healing, only to find his parents gone and his older brother standing guard. If this sounds an awful lot like a cookie-cutter indie comedy, then you may understand the problem. It's almost as if writer/director Jay Hollinsworth feels the need to brand the film a conventional crowd-pleaser when, in fact, the parts that work aren't comic at all. There are some sequences which bring to mind Robbe-Grillet in the repetitive handling of details and fractured structure of the narrative, in particular a scene that begins in a Chinese restaurant but concludes (without explanation) in a Mexican restaurant. The fact is, however, that ideas do not a movie make, and as great as those ideas are, Hollinsworth seems content to let them drown in a vat of standard issue comedy and Clerks-ian dialogue. It feels almost as if there's a lack of confidence and commitment to create something of significance rather than something disposable and jokey. Let me be clear, the film doesn't deserve a score of 9 but due to the suspiciously down-skewed current rating, I decided I'd attempt to "right the ship" slightly. All things being equal, I'd probably rate it a 6 or 7.
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