Monday, June 16, 2008

It's Not Easy Being 'Blue'

Something fun happened last week. It turns out Scott Prendergast, the writer/director/costar of a film I wrote about last month called "Kabluey," is a regular reader of my blog and kindly invited to a press screening tomorrow afternoon here in New York. Meanwhile, another reader who is a film critic in Michigan wrote to let me know that he was seeing the film at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck over the weekend and just sent me a review for me to share with you guys right now.

"Kabluey," guest-reviewed by James Sanford of

Salman (writer-director Scott Prendergast) is a 32-year-old hard-luck case who was recently fired from a printing company for overenthusiastic laminating. With no money and no place to stay, he moves in with his bedraggled sister-in-law Leslie (a thoroughly deglamorized Lisa Kudrow), who needs help with her kids while her husband is in Iraq on extended duty. Yes, it's a comedy built around stop-loss, and how many of those do you think you'll see this year?

The kids are mini-maniacs whose hobbies include screaming, running around the neighborhood in the nude and trashing the house. As Salman tries in vain to tame them, "Kabluey" looks like it's setting itself up to be a contemporary "Mr. Mom," an idea that's underscored by the presence of "Mr. Mom" star Teri Garr in a wacky supporting role.

But before long, Salman has landed another job, dressing up in a bulky blue costume to serve as the mascot for a failing Internet company. The humor is initially broad and slightly overplayed: A little shouting goes a long way, even in a farce. But as the screenplay goes on to touch on several serious topics (maxed-out credit cards, endless work days, the war's toll on family life, etc.) "Kabluey" turns out to be unexpectedly thoughtful and bittersweet.

Prendergast has a real eye for shot composition and finding sharp little details within a scene, such as the plastic spoon that whirls around aimlessly in Leslie's coffee cup, a perfect reflection of her own confused state of mind. As an actor, he makes great use of his disbelieving eyes and letter-perfect hangdog expression, and Kudrow -- cast against type -- is outstanding as a worn-down woman sorely in need of a little compassion. It's her best role since "The Opposite of Sex" and she makes the most of every moment.

Sounds good. I will report back my own feelings later in the week. I never watched "Friends" but loved Kudrow in "The Opposite of Sex," then loved her even more in "The Comeback" (and thought "Happy Endings" was a real treat, too), so I will be curious to see if I agree with James on this one.

"Kabluey" release dates:

starting July 4

starting July 11

starting Aug. 1

Official site here.

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