My Name Is Buttons (2002) Poster

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9/10
Stunningly good spoof movie
tom-5514 May 2004
Austin filmmakers John Merriman, Courtney Davis, and David Layton have created a little gem in Buttons, a very funny, very smart swipe at the particularly annoying Hollywood feel-good, rebel-against-the-stuffy-institution film best exemplified by Patch Adams. It is a real shame that such a good little film has only been seen in a dozen or so film festival appearances, because it is so right on.

It gets maximum laughs by simply and honestly recreating the simplistic plot-devices of these groaners and the totally stilted and goofy dialog regularly plaguing them. On top of that is a Flowers For Algernon in reverse plot line in which a unhappy and disgruntled intellectual (Merriman as Hunter Reeves) is fed a drug that makes him simple and, like Forrest Gump, happy (Merriman as Reeves altered ego, Buttons).

Lowell Bartholomee delivers a brilliant performance as the Robin Williams-esque Dr. Lamb Williams, a clinical psychologist for a pharmacological testing lab that turns paid volunteers into lab rats. Merriman is equally brilliant as the hapless Reeves/Buttons, and Courtney Davis and T'Chaka Sikelianos are no less right on as Hunter's friends and fellow lab rats.

But the real star here is writing that knows when to go for the broad joke and when to settle for subtle irony. Combined with perfectly modulated performances, it creates a film that only gets better with repeated viewing as you discover a joke or clever observation that you might have overlooked before.

Here's hoping this film has a long life on DVD.
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Don't miss this great independent comedy!
naturalsel119 December 2003
This is a really smart independent comedy with energetic and inspired performances from a great cast. I've seen it maybe half a dozen times at festival and benefit screenings, and the thing that strikes me again and again is that the cast and crew all seem to be on the same page, having a blast, sharing jokes and communicating with the audience in a really unique, fresh way. It never fails to make me laugh in the same places over and over, but I also find great new things each time I see it. The creative trio behind the film, writer-director-actor-producers Courtney Davis and John Merriman and cinematographer-producer David Layton are very talented, up-and-coming Austin filmmakers who have put together an assured, accomplished first feature film. Davis and Merriman are two of the movie's leads, and their comic abilities are impressive and immediately obvious. With the quality of their work in front of the camera and in the writing and directing of Buttons, they show great promise and have a very bright future in filmmaking ahead of them. For Layton's part, he's shot a great looking film, doing wonders on what had to be a very tight budget. Unlike so many independent films, Buttons looks and sounds great and polished throughout. It's also free of the endless, static scenes of people drinking coffee and talking about their twenty-something lives that often plague independent films. Buttons is utterly free of pretension, quite a feat for a first feature. It's an incredibly funny, well-paced and expertly crafted film that should not be missed.
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2/10
not that great
rhinestone_cowgirl21 March 2004
i don't really understand why the user rating for this film is so incredibly high. i saw it at the austin film festival in 2002 and was not impressed.

i thought the story was shallow, and lacked any sort of real reasoning, i really don't like how this is compared in any way to "flowers for algernon" which was a great story, while this is not.

i've always thought the point of a film was to make someone care about the characters, and to tell you the truth i was sitting in my chair thinking "geez, he's such a little terd, i dont' really care what happens one way or the other." and although this is a comedy, i can't recall really laughing. this film was trying to be to serious for its own good. if one is going to make a "stupid" comedy, go all out and make a "dude, where's my car" then i might at least laugh a few times.

all in all when i think about this film my first thought is "that's two hours i'll never get back." anyway, i wish no ill will on the filmmakers, i just hope they invest their time and money more wisely next time.
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