Dealin With Idiots

Dealin with idiots

DIRECTED BY JEFF GARLIN

STARRING JEFF GARLIN,
FRED WILLARD,
BOB ODENKIRK
J.B. Smoove
Gina Gershon
Kerri Kenney
Jami Gertz
Timothy Olyphant
Richard Kind
Steve Agee
Jim Sheridan
Nia Vardalos.

Judges are supposed to reuse themselves when they have an interest in the outcome of the trial, reporters have an obligation to tell us when the story they’re covering is connected to the parent company that pays their salary: so I want to begin by saying that Jeff Garlin is a close friend of our family. In fact he is the father of one of my closest friends, and I was lucky enough to attend the World Premier.

When evaluating a movie like this, you have to understand what you’re evaluating. This is not a movie about dying children or complex emotions. This film actually doesn’t have much of a story (which in some instances might have helped a bit). Instead of a script, writers Jeff Garlin and Peter Murrieta simply wrote an outline and allowed all the dialogue to simply flow naturally. This is a film that only a comedian with a long history with improv could ever have the skill and confidence to make. It’s an enormous leap-of-faith to shoot a feature film in just 12 days, with a large cast, each of whom must make up their lines on the spot.   The result is a deeply funny film that should have had a slightly bigger climax.

Garlin co-wrote and directed the film, as well as starred in its leading role. The film’s plot is fairly basic. After attending his son’s baseball game, comedian Max Morris (Garlin) is struck by the insanity of all the parents’ apparent insanity. Then, he decides that he is going to investigate whether or not there is potential for a movie in these people and their quirks. He goes about this by talking to each one of these lunatics, playing the straight man similarly to Alice while in Wonderland, meeting each character is an event in of itself.

Some encounters include the time with Coach Jimbo (Bob Odenkirk) who goes on a gut-wrenching rant about a door with a broken lock that he refuses to fix, but prevents him from storing his beef goulash in a can in the back of the pathetic copy office where he works. This scene relies solely on dialogue, while others like meeting Coach Ted (JB Smoove) involves him taking Max to “his compound,” where a girl far younger from Smoove (there was Smoove, a more bulked up peer of his, a fat, kind, older black woman who looked like Tracy Morgan doing a Tyler Perry impersonation, and two drunk young white girls in bikinis – I mention this because I can’t for the life of me figure out what his compound was) who was asking Max if he would like to come on her podcast, Sex and Science, which is actually “…A radio show and they talk and you take your cloths off but no one knows that your clothes are off and we don’t bang, unless you’re into that.” The compound then regroups to try to write auto biographies of themselves, where Smoove tells us that he was once in a fight where no one won and that, when he was young, he struck out on T-ball.  The same drunk  Podcast girl reveals that she isn’t going to write her book down because it’s all in her head. It’s amazing that any of them were able to keep from “breaking” shooting that scene.

You can tell the kind of absurdity that the film can reach. Then, there’s also moments like Harold (Richard Kind) just walking in his home from one room to another saying odd things (“There’s a lot of wood…more wood than I was hoping for,” and “Memories.”), adopting the gate of a Muppet, and dreaming of owning armoire.

Other nuts include a stereotypical lesbian couple (Gina Gershon and Kerri Kennedy), Howard’s insane Martha Stewart wannabe wife (Jami Gertz), a trainer who takes off his shirt at random times, a man whose obsessed with his son playing baseball so much that he looses track of what’s important (Fred Willard), a rich guy who Max repeatedly refers to as Commissioner Gordon in an Adam West impersonation, Steve Agee as a bizarre father who claimed to be in talks to make a movie with someone else despite the fact that this is practically impossible and false who was utterly bizarre (I would have liked to delve into this character further).

Once again, you have to know what to expect. This is hilarious. It’s not stupid, but it’s also not brilliant. It’s cringe humor that is brought together by Garlin in his likable role. However, it also has some heart, most notable the appearances of his Dad (the excellently casted Timothy Olyphant), which are so short and simple that they seem like the advice you really wanted, but never had.

I would hate myself if I failed to tell you to sit through the credits, because there is a bonus scene well worth the wait.

 

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