Somebody Up There Likes Me
Director & Screenwriter: Bob Byington Thirty-five years in the life of Max, his best friend Sal, and a woman they both adore. A deadpan fable about time sneaking up on and swerving right around us. Cast: Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Kevin Corrigan (North American Premiere)
Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)
WHO'S IT FOR?: If you like quirky humor but hesitate when said quirk becomes overly cute, this is the perfect refresh for you. Fans of Nick Offerman should give this one a whirl to see what kind of comedic magic he can pull within a feature-length film. If you simply like funny movies in general, keep this one on your radar.
In a way that feels similar to a first experience with Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums, Bob Byington's hilarious gem Somebody Up There Likes Me offers a new brand of deadpan humor, as told with a unique vision as well. Often playing out its short segments like three-panel comics, the film offers consistent laughs borne from goofy perspectives about human relationships and reactions. On top of this, it's also a very good-spirited film, despite its many moments that involve random bouts of reckless infidelity.
Carrying this movie through its many odd chapters (of which span more than twenty years) is the incredibly watchable Keith Poulson, who has a great spacious presence in the movie. Experiencing Poulson and his expertly crafted character navigate through these cartoonish events, he feels like a character that we would see in episodes - just like the famous character M. Hulot in Jacques Tati films. Like M. Hulot, Poulson's character Max is a new creature from the film world that we would absolutely love to watch in more meaningful stories. Max could function within the silly atmosphere of movies like Mr. Hulot's Holiday, or the meaningful chaos of Playtime.
Bound to give this indie some deserved traction is the burly presence of Nick Offerman, who has gained quite a following as character Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation." However, Offerman is a near show stealer in this movie, as he plays opposite future star Keith Poulson with the perfect amount of stiff silliness. Offerman turns out to be a perfect choice for the movie's quirky, restrained humor that never feels like a writer looking for a gag, but instead analyzing "normal" while wearing a highly unique prescription of thick-rimmed glasses.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10