Opening October 15, 2015
Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh
Writing credits: Max Landis
Principle actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman
Not much happens in small towns in West Virginia: you work to live, get stoned, and hang out with your main squeeze (Stewart). Mike’s (Eisenberg) one diversion is his graphic novel. Concurrently, a test of wills in CIA management leaves his handler (Britton) hanging and a skewered agent (Grace), intent on erasing past losses, takes over. Meanwhile, Mike needs props and turns to his supplier (Leguizamo). An odd customer intervenes before Mike has a chance to see Phoebe. In the blink-of-an-eye, Mike’s life is inside out. Situations radically escalate: Laughter (Goggins) is unleashed, and ultimately the handler of all handlers (Pullman) has to sort everything out. Quite economically.
Essentially, Max Landis screenplay, even with some zingy one-liners, is old hat, as is the fast-pace of Nima Nourizadeh’s direction. So, why bother? Worth seeing are Richard Bridgland’s stylized production design propped by Jon Danniells’ set decoration, and art directors Michael Barton and Christina Eunji Kim artful collaboration. Eisenberg and Stewart spark off one another, with good comic nuances from the rest of the cast. Funky and fun, the film trashes stereotypes – could wind up a “cult” flick. Undoubtedly it will appeal to younger audiences, and for anyone in the right mood. Also, there is a wacky graphic novel end-off under end credits. 81 minutes (Marinell H.)