outdoor parking lot
Fulton Street and Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
2/3/4/5/B/Q to Atlantic Ave or D/M/N/R to Pacific St.
|8:30pm||Live music by Vacation Dad|
The Comedy (Rick Alverson | USA | 96 min.)
Much like Five Easy Pieces or Mike Leigh’s Naked, director Rick Alverson and lead actor Tim Heidecker have masterfully created a captivating character study about an unlikable character. (Fans of Tim and Eric should delight in seeing a new level of skillful acting from the duo.) With Swanson (Heidecker) and friends cracking wise at everything life has, the film is funny as hell. But watching this crew romp indulgently—beer wrestling and drunkenly playing wiffleball, scathingly critiquing each other with straight faces and stoner eyes—it would all be so much mindless naval gazing if not for the sense of melancholy which imbues their actions. One has to wonder if they are having fun while they’re having fun.
Heidecker’s hipster is on some type of Quixotic quest, making a fool (and an asshole) of himself while constantly misinterpreting how to relate to other people. He is attempting to find connection, but it always comes off wrong, whether dangerously getting down with some thuggish guys in a ghetto bar or badly trying to bond with an immigrant cab driver. Joining his father’s Latino gardening staff, he tricks the elitist estate managers, seemingly standing up for the workers, but then he walks off, his point being proven to no one. His anguish is palpable whenever he fails to get a smile.
All these hilariously inappropriate failings become a search for the essence of humanity, finding connection despite differences, and his search would be the same no matter his race, class or cultural background. He’s not looking to “better himself”—the film is smarter, edgier and more true than that platitude. He doesn’t know what he’s looking to do. But this biting nihilist comedy is worth seeing for the unique cultural critique of a man burning through life fast and raw, aching with the painful hope of the perpetually cynical.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg