Written and directed by Thomas F. Mazziotti
Red Square Pictures advertises this new movie as a comedy. That kind of makes sense. It’s not realistic enough to be a drama. It has no suspense or thrills. Jaunty background music reminds you to laugh. And although it is “Based on a true story,” it’s completely unbelievable. But as a comedy…well, the laughs are rare.
I could call it a character study about two men and their platonic relationship, but neither of these characters are in any way believable. Writer/director Thomas F. Mazziotti doesn’t even give these men names. There’s The Narrator (Thomas Sadoski) and The Kid (Jake Robinson). The story is told, of course, by The Narrator, who occasionally talks directly to the camera (mostly early in the film). A few references tell us that he’s a screenwriter, with hints that he’s writing the movie we’re watching. That worked brilliantly in 8½, but not here.
The story begins when The Kid comes to town (no, it’s not a western, but it doesn’t seem to take place in the 21st century, either). He latches onto The Narrator and seems very much interested in his new acquaintance. The Kid turns up all the time, and even looks through The Narrator‘s wallet. The Kid is an awful person; he ruined The Narrator‘s ceiling and almost killed his dog, without apologizing. He talks about cheating on his wife – who may or may not exist. The Narrator concludes that The Kid is a sociopath, but instead of keeping away, he sticks close and tries to understand this strange person.
Both characters appear to be complete idiots. In a bar scene, The Narrator brings up the actual fact that one in 25 people are sociopaths. From there, they decide that if there are 25 or less people in the bar, The Kid must be the only sociopath there. But if there are 26 people or more, there must be another sociopath in the establishment. No one mentions that statistics don’t work that way. And the dialog is often wretched. At one moment, while arguing if they are friends or not, The Narrator cries out “I am not a mushroom! People take more time to cultivate.”
And yet, the surprisingly good acting makes The Mimic watchable. Sadoski is excellent as the normal Narrator, and Robinson is just slightly off in a way that makes you shudder. Even better, almost every bit player in the film gets a chance to shine. This includes well-known actors like M. Emmet Walsh and Gina Gershon, along with lesser-known thespians like Matthew Maher, Tammy Blanchard, and especially Jessica Keenan Wynn as a librarian.
I can also praise Tim Gillis’ cinematography. There’s a shot of the two leads, one in close-up and another in a medium shot, that helps show what their relationship would eventually become.
As I write this, I only know that The Mimic will be “Screening in Select Theaters & Available on VOD.” It opens Friday.