Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Michael Leydon Campbell, Rachael Leigh Cook, Grace Zabriskie, Amy Ryan, Eddie Jemison, Stephen Root, Lucy Davis, Khleo Thomas
Written by: Craig Carlisle
Directed by: Craig Carlisle
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 106
Date: 03/20/2009
IMDB

Bob Funk (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Surly to Bed...

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bob Funk starts out like a black comedy, with lots of nasty, amusing things to say about the working world, relationships, and life in general. But then it turns to redemption and we watch as the entire second half of the movie dutifully, dully takes back everything it said in the first half. Needless to say, the dry, witty first half is far more interesting, even if it's ultimately more amusing than funny. Bob Funk (Michael Leydon Campbell) works at a bed and mattress emporium, incapable of selling anything and showing up each day drunk or hung over. He manages a cynical, snappy patter to match the film's cavernous spaces and deadpan staging. His boss, also his mother (Grace Zabriskie), fires him but takes him back on the condition that he'll take a demotion and go into therapy. From there, Bob slowly learns how to be human again, and slowly learns to love the new girl on the job, the clumsy Ms. Thorne (Rachael Leigh Cook, who couldn't be more adorable). For some reason the exemplary, Oscar-nominated Amy Ryan plays a women who hangs out in bars and reluctantly allows herself to be picked up by Bob (after several pointed blow-offs). And Stephen Root plays another office drone who dreams of being an actor; movie buffs will only compare him unfavorably to his legendary role in Office Space (1999). Eddie Jemison has a nice role as Bob's hapless brother, however. Craig Carlisle makes his writing and directing debut here, and his visual rhythms are never less than interesting, but he doesn't trust that his black comedy will hold up well past the long, dry redemption. [Note: I only received a "check disc" from Magnolia Home Entertainment, so I can't comment on the extras or quality of the finished DVD.]

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