Garlin’s New Movie Is Twisted, Awkward, And Completely Hilarious

Courtesy: IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

Writer/comedian/director Jeff Garlin’s (Curb Your Enthusiasm) new indie comedy Dealin’ With Idiots is twisted. It’s awkward. And it’s absolutely hilarious.  The near ninety-minute comedy sees Garlin’s Max Morris living in an upper middle-class city.  There’s just one problem. He’s surrounded by some of the most peculiar individuals that one could even begin to imagine at his son’s little league baseball games. The team’s coach is a nobody, working in a dead job. He has a severe Napoleon complex of sorts as a result. The parents of the players are just as bad. They’re completely outlandish characters. Yet the irony of these parents is that there is a certain modicum of truth about their character styles. This is one of the keys to the success of this movie.  Just as important to the movie’s success is the ability of its cast to interpret the movie’s script effectively.  The case is made up of some of the most respected names in comedy today.  These two factors alone are enough to make this movie one of the year’s funniest comedies, indie or otherwise.

The story behind Dealin’ With Idiots is a simple one. It puts Garlin’s Max Morris among a group of stereotypical sports parents in the world of little league baseball.  Audiences will laugh out loud watching the behavior of Max’s fellow parents as they sit on the bleachers, watching their kids play, basically doing what so many parents do.  Any viewer that denies the reality of what’s portrayed in this story is probably in fact one of the very parent types spoofed in the story’s script.  Bob Odenkirk’s Coach Jimbo and Richard Kind’s (Spin City) Harold are two of the funniest of the story’s characters. That’s because of their realism and their portrayal by their respective actors. Far too many people can say that they know of someone like Coach Jimbo.  He’s a jobber who is trying to make up for his own lack of an exciting life by taking on coaching duties of a children’s sports team. It’s also to make up for his own shortcomings earlier in life, just as Coach Jimbo points out having had himself.  And Harold is the stereotypical neighborhood man that shows off in public as a means to cover up his less than stellar personal life. When they are put alongside their fellow rogue’s gallery of characters, Coach Jimbo, Harold, and the rest of the characters make for more than their share of laughs as Max observes their contradictory lifestyles on and off of the bleachers. Simply put, it’s something that absolutely must be seen to be appreciated.  Audiences should take into account that this is not a movie for everyone.  Not everyone will get the humor incorporated into the script.  But those that do get the story will appreciate it and find themselves laughing nonstop from beginning to end.

Garlin’s script for his movie is smart, witty, and humorously twisted in its own way.  This critic should reiterate here that it is not for everyone.  But those that do get Garlin’s humor will love it each time they watch the story.  Viewers that get his brand of comedy will enjoy just as much the cast chosen to fill out the story.  Some of the top names in comedy fill out the movie’s cast.  Steve Agee, Fred Willard, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz, and Gina Gershon join Bob Odenkirk and Richard Kind to make one of the most hilariously bizarre comedy troupes assembled in recent memory.  A big part of what makes the cast’s interpretation of its characters is its experience with improve comedy.  Allegedly, a large amount of the cast’s on-screen interaction if not all, was improv.  That would explain quite a bit.  It would especially at its core, explain why Dealin’ With Idiots is such a hilarious movie, indie flick or not.  It’s a movie that any comedy lover should watch at least once.  More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Portlandia Season Two Another Laugh Riot

Courtesy: Independent Film Channel/Video Services Corporation

It’s time for another trip up the road to the one and only Portlandia.  The second season of this twisted, bizarre and completely outlandish sketch comedy show is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.  One part Saturday Night Live and one part The Kids in The Hall, this little show that could is obviously a niche show.  It’s not for everybody.  But for those who are open minded enough, this oddity of a show is a good escape from everything else currently cluttering the airwaves.

Portlandia’s second season offers more than its share of laughs.  Those who are not entirely enthused over this season are likely missing its whole point.  As with Season One, this second season continues to completely poke fun at the standard holier-than-thou too hip for the hip 90’s crowd who are stuck in that age to this day, as well as other groups.  For instance, audiences are introduced to Spyke and Iris as they plan their wedding in the episode, “Cool Wedding.”  Both Spyke and Iris fit that stereotype.  And seeing them trying to go against the grain in planning the wedding will leave anyone laughing.  It’s complete absurdity.  But there’s also a certain amount of truth to their characters as there are people still like them out there today.

Courtesy: Independent Film Channel/Video Services Corporation

Another great example from Season Two of its success comes in the form of “One More Episode.”  This episode pokes fun not just at the world of science fiction and its sometimes overly devoted fan base.  Audiences get to see what happens when Carrie and Fred start watching the recent Battlestar galactic series on DVD.  They keep saying they’ll only watch one more episode.  They become so wrapped up in the series that they lose sight of everything else.  They even become so obsessed that they go off in search of a man they think helped write for the show (but obviously didn’t).  Again, there actually is a certain amount of truth to this as there really are people like that.  The addition of guest stars Edward James Olmos and James Callis as themselves make this one even funnier.

Fans will also laugh out loud as a young man with the Surfrider Foundation tries to get a woman to sign his petition to ban plastic bags.  When she declines, his parents and even his grandparents get involved.  There’s even a great politically incorrect bit during the season’s first episode, “Mixology” that will no doubt stir up some debate among audiences.  It all comes together with the season’s other bits to make for plenty of laughs and a great escape from the current river of mindless reality television that currently pollutes the airwaves today.  Portlandia is now available on DVD and blu-ray. 

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