Benjamin, home-schooled by his eccentric mother, is a loner whose passion for writing leads him on an journey as his story first gets ripped off by the legendary fantasy novelist, Ronald Chevalier, and then is adapted into a disastrous movie by the small town's most prolific homespun filmmaker.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
People on set commented that Jemaine Clement and director Jared Hess bore a striking resemblance, which Clement explained by joking, "I've found directors often hire people who look like them." See more »
When Chevalier is reading Benjamin's story he has just opened the binder, in the next shot it shows he has read at least half of it. See more »
When Benjamin (an aspiring young science fiction author) attends a writers' workshop, his latest work is quickly lifted and re-imagined by two of his fellow campers. One, an obnoxious small-scale filmmaker, does so with the creator's blessing while the other, an established novelist, claims the work as his own. Written and directed by Jared Hess, also responsible for Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, this eccentric comedy lands somewhere in between the hypnotic success of the former and the disappointing shortfalls of the latter. The opening act is a real riot, with quirky, colorful characters stepping out of the wallpaper and amazing over- the-top visualizations of Benjamin's work that treat his hokey material with unmasked deference. But while those big screen interpretations of his hilariously awful novel bring the goods throughout the film (with competing visions from the two other writers' interpretations raising the bar) the primary storyline doesn't keep pace. The awkward, passionately inept cast doesn't quite have the charms of Napoleon or Pedro, (with the exception of Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, who's outstanding as selfish sci-fi plagiarist Ronald Chevalier) and there's a notable lack of a top-of-the-mountain moment that was so present in Dynamite's dance scene. It's a spiritual successor that had potential, but never completely rises to the moment.
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