Amazon : one of the best-directed comedies I've
seen in quite awhile
© 2010 Carlos Dev for 365
sure to read the ORIGINAL
Comedy (Self-Distributed) Olympia Dukakis, Haley Joel Osment,
Allison Brie, Veronica Cartwright, Ellen Geer, Lew Temple,
James McDonald, Liza Del Mundo, Angel Oquendo, Haley Pullos,
Michelle Bonilla, Zach Lewis, Connie Cooper, Patty McCall.
Directed by D.G. Brock
Not everyone is born
a genius. Not everyone is even born with normal intelligence.
Some people are born to march to a different drummer, and
some people are just born.
The Dunderheads of
Montana are the kind of family that small towns in Montana
sometimes have to put up with; not super bright, not socially
graceful and apt to do the wrong thing more times than not.
Ira (Dukakis) is nearly mute, for whom smoking seems to be
her only joy in life. She is as mean-tempered as a Missouri
mule and twice as violent as a Manson family disciple.
Ella (Brie), her granddaughter,
has the sexuality of Sue Lyon in Lolita and the maturity of
a six-year-old. She dreams of being swept off her feet by
a studly gas station attendant (she has a thing for gas station
attendants) and has all the sophistication of a musk ox in
heat. As beautiful as she is, there is something disturbing
about her that makes most guys go running in the opposite
direction; that is if they have any sense at all.
Womple (Osment) is
Iras grandson and Ellas brother; he dreams of
finding his father, who has been missing in action most of
his life. Womple believes he is a big game hunter in Africa.
He is sure his dad will return any day now, a hope that his
sister ridicules at every opportunity. Ira doesnt have
much to say on the subject; she doesnt have much to
say at all.
When Womple accidentally
kills a friend (and believe me, Womple doesnt have many),
a paranoid Ira herds her grandkids into an ancient Ford Falcon
and drives off to escape the law. She has but one word in
her vocabulary: Canada! which she grunts with
ferocity. Theres just one problem; Canada is to the
North of Montana; Ira heads resolutely south.
Along the way the Dunderheads
leave a trail of mayhem and chaos behind them, but Womple
will also discover the truth about his father and the family
skeleton that he literally comes face to face with, and we
will discover that some families are dysfunctional for a reason.
Director D.G. Brock
is not a name Im familiar with but she is a name you
want to keep your eye on. This is one of the best-directed
comedies Ive seen in quite awhile. The pace is absolutely
frenetic, moving from scene to scene with reckless abandon.
There are a lot of really big laughs here, and many of them
come from the puzzled expression of Haley Joel Osment, who
probably saw a few dead people when he was channeling his
performance, most notably the Marx Brothers and the Three
Olympia Dukakis is
a treasure; while she has been cast in a lot of similar roles
over her career (mother and now grandmother), she carries
off this offbeat role bravely, allowing herself to go outside
of her comfort zone (she beats the crap out of Osment throughout
the movie and smokes like a fiend) and as a result, delivers
one of the best performances of her stellar career.
Allison Brie is familiar
to television viewers more than movie fans, having critical
roles in both Mad Men and Community
but she does a great job here. While her performance isnt
quite as fearless as Dukakis, she displays a comic touch
that marks her as a comic actress who has a future on the
big screen as well as the small.
Cartwright and Geer
deliver strong albeit brief performances in supporting roles.
In fact, the acting is uniformly strong in this movie which
for the most part has flown under the national radar. I caught
it at the Orlando Film Festival and while the movie isnt
scheduled for U.S. release until April 2011 (and at present
has no national distribution lined up), nonetheless this is
one of those movies that remind you that good movies dont
necessarily generate Internet buzz. Its an impressive
comedy that mixes the best elements of screwball comedy and
road pictures but injects a modern sensibility into the mix.
Its one worth making an effort to look out for.
REASONS TO GO: This
movie is as manic as they come; combines the traditions of
the screwball comedy and the road comedy, only with a modern
sensibility. Dukakis, Osment, Brie and Cartwright all deliver
the goods here. The ending packs quite an unexpected wallop.
REASONS TO STAY:
At times the Dunderheads act so dumb and revolting its
hard to sympathize with them.
FAMILY VALUES: There
are some fairly disturbing scenes, a bit of bad language (not
much) and some scenes of sexuality, as well as some sexual
language; I would rate this as acceptable for most teenaged
Those who bought tickets in advance from the films
website can get a free download of the John Legend song that
is played during the closing credits.
HOME OR THEATER:
While it is still possible the film might be picked up for
national distribution, it is more likely your best bet will
be to find it on DVD/Blu-Ray either on Netflix or online.
FINAL RATING: 8.5/10