Tuesday, April 7, 2009
REVIEW: Man Overboard...
I love independent films. However, there are many different classes of independent films. There are films such as the upcoming 500 Days of Summer, where they are bigger in budget, and also released by mid major companies like Fox Searchlight. Then, there are films that fly completely under the radar, with budgets no more than the DVD they are printed on. That is where this charming little film, Man Overboard, falls, and what a splash it made.
Man Overboard tells the story of a boat shop owner, C.J. Mason. When Mason's used boat shop begins to be taking a bit of a hit, he attempts to make drastic changes. After a chance run in with a slick salesman Johnny, he hires him to bring the shop around. However, instead of a salesman, it appears that he has hired a con artist with a pension for physical abuse. Eventually, C.J. must work to undo the turmoil that has been caused at the hands of the sociopath named Johnny Cross.
That plot is where the true stars of the film can be found. Mel Fair (of CSI:NY fame), plays Johnny Fair, and steals the show. He plays the sociopath to utter perfection. You loath him, yet you see how he charmed his way into getting the job in the first place. Matt Kaminski is in the role of C.J., and where the film truly shines is in the interchanges between him and his wife. Their relationship felt completely real, and their chemistry was top notch.
Another bonus to this film is the look of it. It's definitely got an indie directorial style, that doesn't rely on stylistic crutches, but it does have a great feel. The cinematography is subdued, yet for this low budget comedy, it works. It's similar to a film like Waiting in look and feel, and hopefully this will get the buzz that film garnered. The direction from Oliver Robins allows the great script, written by Ashley Scott Meyers and Nathan Ives, to be the basis of the jokes. It doesn't take any of the focus away from the story and the script, that lets it makes the film that more interesting.
There are a few visual flares that also amp up the look of the film. It goes from the standard point at shoot direction, to a more handheld feel, that when the action near the end gets going, it boosts the feel of the film to something more than just a run of the mill true indie film.
That said, the film does have a couple of flaws.
First off, the score is a bit weak. It's a bit to low key and very synth heavy, that doesn't really fit this film. It's not obnoxious, but it doesn't enhance anything in the film either. Also, the role of Steve really garnered nothing for the film. It's not a well written or well acted role, that just didn't hit for me. He's an obnoxious, over the top character, similar to that of say, Todd from Scrubs, and just falls a bit flat. While the supporting cast is really top notch (including a turn from Graham Norris who was last seen in my favorite show, Dollhouse), this one left a sour taste in my mouth. Finally, some of the jokes just didn't hit for me as a whole.
However, for a film that I didn't know anything about, I really had a blast. Hopefully you all will to when you get a chance to check it out when it hits DVD on August 11th. For more information, head over to http://www.manoverboardmovie.com/.
MAN OVERBOARD - 7.5/10
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