Tales from an eternal gypsy who believes anything can happen

VIFF Review: Somebody Up There Likes Me

Thirty-five years in the life of Max (Keith Poulson), his best friend Sal (Nick Offerman) and a woman they both adore, Lyla (Jess Weixler).The trio stumble through mandatory but seemingly unfulfilling entanglements, at weddings, funerals, hospitals, eateries, divorce courts and the tool shed. A deadpan fable about time sneaking up on and swerving right around us.

Bob Byington’s quirky dark comedy first made waves with audiences during this year’s SXSW festival. I couldn’t help but compare Byington’s film making style to a fine mix between Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers. Brilliantly written. Inappropriately hilarious. A real crowd pleaser, for those of us who tend to laugh at all the wrong moments in life.

The characters are well thought out and the casting was spot on, causing me to wonder how much of this film was improvised because each interaction and funny dynamic seemed so natural. Keith Poulson is the poster boy for break-out hipster comedies. I hope to see a lot more of him. His faithful sidekick Sal (Offerman) is hysterical as his free-loading friend and fellow waiter. What’s puzzling is how Max never seems to age, but I’ll leave that up to you to figure out.

Megan Mullally makes a surprise appearance as Max’s eccentric therapist. She’s also married to Nick Offerman in real life.

Somebody Up There Likes Me has it’s final VIFF screening on Thursday, October 5th at Empire Granville 7. Tickets are still available at www.viff.org.

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