Friday, September 19, 2008

“Kabluey” - An icon of anxious times

A dimwitted underachiever trapped in an absurd work assignment is sent out to humiliate himself for a business that never lived up to its potential. A military wife is trapped without benefits as her husbands’ duty in Iraq is extended yet again. A grocery store cashier takes Polaroids of suspected child kidnappers while an old man loves his thermos and a local Don Juan beds everyone possible. All these folks inhabit “Kabluey” a great little film where all the characters seem trapped and desperate. The desolate roads, unfinished office buildings, second rate grocery stores, seedy motels and soulless Mcmansions are perfectly captured as a setting for our main character, a hangdog shell shocked Salman (writer/director Scott Prendergast) who spends much of this flick in a giant blue padded suit with an oversized orb head. He is simply trying to pass out flyers to rent out the unused office space in a near abandoned corporate headquarters, dressed as its' generic brand icon.

A first rate cast and well tuned offbeat tone show just how an indie can get it right where so many have gone wrong. Sure ‘Kanbluey’ has its faults but how can you resist a film where a small child evilly vows to kill our hero and then actually attempts it. Terri Garr makes a hilarious extended cameo as an insane courier and Lisa Kudrow as the lonely wife does a good job with a tough role. Most importantly the utter anxiety and absurdity of our times seems to be captured from the war to the economy and the loneliness of trying to survive while doing what’s right. Our heroes are not brand cartoon characters - just ordinary folks finding their inner good. Prendergrast seems to have channeled Chaplin (or Buster Keaton) for these modern times.