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Quint takes a look at Slamdance dark comedy YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE... Picture Napoleon Dynamite as directed by John Waters...

Published at: Feb. 10, 2009, 7:29 a.m. CST by quint

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a quick review before I crash for a bit. I’m a little behind on fest coverage. I received a few Slamdance and Sundance screeners right before jetting off to Santa Barbara Film Festival which I’m even more behind on covering. I’ll have more coverage up from both fests soon, but let’s start with YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE. With a little fudging, you can view this film as OFFICE SPACE’s Milton’s adventures before Initech. If you mix Milton with the McKenzie Brothers and throw in a pinch of Napoleon Dynamite’s older brother, Kip, you have an idea of what the main character is like. Joshua Peace plays the lead, a guy named Robert Mutt, who is hated by everybody in his small town, so he considers jumping off the local bridge. Naturally. While standing there trying to decide he’s called a douchebag by a passerby, randomly… so fuck it. Why not take the leap? He does, but it’s not very far down and all he gets for his trouble is a stint at the local nuthatch. But that’s fine with him. Inside he’s actually liked and respected. They loonies either love him or don’t know he’s there and he even has a good relationship with the guards… who use him as a ringer when new staff come in and want to make some easy money off of air hockey challenges with the patients. Unfortunately he’s let out (against his will, of course) and has to rehabilitate into a life with a comatose mother, a whiny wanna be Hannah Montana type tween star little sister, her creepy “Uncle”/Manager and a town that completely hates his guts. His only friend, a who lives high as a kite and only seems to get Robert into more trouble.

It took about 15 minutes to hook me. I’ll describe the scene and if it sounds appealing to you then this is a flick you should seek out should it come to a fest near you or can manage to get a small theatrical release. So, Mutt is released and tries to go home. He is tranqed and put on a bus, so of course when he wakes up the local dipshits have drawn all sorts of craziness all over his face with a sharpie. Devil horns, 666, upsidedown crosses, etc. He stumbles out of the bus, walks down the street and finds the creepiest fucking clown I’ve seen since Tim Curry in IT. This is played by character actor Stephen McHattie, who you’ll soon see in WATCHMEN as the original Nite Owl, Hollis Mason. He’s presiding over a kid’s birthday party that is overrunning the whole street. When he and his wife see Mutt coming the clown’s face drops and the wife goes crazy on the poor guy, calling him a pervert and pedophile. The clown lets his wife berate Mutt and then calls out, “Yeah, he put those pictures on my computer with the email…” This starts a witch hunt that continues on through the rest of the movie as Mutt tries to clear his name, raise enough money to enter an air hockey tournament, runs drugs, rollerskates with a transvestite, has a romance at the skating rink with the girl behind the counter hellbent on blowing up City Hall and ultimately meeting his idol, local baseball star Clint Manitoba, played by Michael Madson. It’s a role that is bigger than cameo, but maybe not quite supporting actor big.

If that sounds at all appealing to you, then your sense of humor will mirror mine and you’ll get a kick out of this. It’s definitely a film festival movie and not the type you’re used to seeing at the local mall, but I will say it’s exactly the type can turn into a surprise hit as well. Director Simon Ennis was obviously working with a shoe-string budget, so he smartly put the focus on making the jokes work, highlighting the most vulgar and risky stuff he could to separate this movie from the run of the mill studio comedies or even the great stuff the Apatow team have been putting out. Joshua Peace (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) wrote and stars as Robert Mutt. He does a fine job carrying the picture and I’d imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more of him regardless if this film is able to lock in distribution or not. It’s tough out there for indie film. The economy is all but killing the independents. This movie’s not perfect, but it got me to gut-laugh, which many comedies can’t get out of me. If this had been made in the late ‘90s it’d be on 500 screens around the country. I hope someone has the sack to take a chance on this one. -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 10, 2009, 7:34 a.m. CST

    YAWN

    by j2talk

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 7:39 a.m. CST

    sounds good

    by Henry's Cat

    I was pleased to hear about that plane in New York that landed on the Hudson safely, but have you thought what the air traffic control was thinking "there's a plane in New York and it doesn't want to land in an airport... not again!" Also, for my UK chums, have you thought that maybe the FA are now thinking of putting out a message "told you we were right about Phil Scolari, we were right about Steve Mclaren, told you"

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Napoleon Dynamite directed by John Waters?

    by Nice Marmot

    Its too hard to imagine that movie being funny. Or good.

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 8:39 a.m. CST

    neat

    by ricarleite

    might watch it

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

    The title is a Dorothy Parker ref, I presume.

    by Mostholy

    Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 9:45 a.m. CST

    i scream from thr top of the empire state building

    by ironic_name

    meh!

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Stephen McHattie plays a clown?

    by DerLanghaarige

    Damn, that's a fucking great idea :D

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Title and premise remind me of "Better Off Dead"

    by thecomedian

    That comes to mind way before Napoleon Dynamite

  • Feb. 10, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Pick a winner, Quint, you deadbeat!

    by paulmkelly

    I hope your film career fails. Pick a winner in that Star Wars contest you ass.

  • Feb. 14, 2009, 2:53 a.m. CST

    sounds pretty cool

    by The Amazing G

    too bad I wont be able to see it till it comes out on dvd