2009 comedy

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Avant-garde composer Adrian doesn't have a lot of fans while his brother, a painter named Josh, makes a pretty good living selling pleasant art--the painting equivalent to elevator music?--to hotels. Madeline owns an art gallery, making money off of Josh's work while showcasing the work of less-commercial artists. Josh brings Madeline to one of his brother's shows, and she becomes interested in him as both an artist and as a sleepover buddy. This creates all kinds of problems.

"Harmony was a capitalist plot to sell pianos!" Love that line. My favorite bit of comedy was when Goldberg's character was giving instructions on how to properly "play" a bucket to one of his "musicians," a scene that reminds me of the one in Scott Walker: 30 Century Man in which the documentary subject gives instructions on how to play meat percussively. The stupidly-titled (Untitled) gets avant-fart exactly right, and Adam Goldberg does pretension and frustration very well. It seems like he's an actor I see all the time, but looking through his filmography, I don't see a lot of titles that would make that true. Regardless, I never really like his characters. I'm not sure you're supposed to like his character here. He's a guy who needs to make compromises but refuses, neurotically. This takes some fun jabs at modern art(ists), both the visual artist and the sound artists like Goldberg's character. Thing is, while I think I was supposed to laugh at rather than scowl with the surly Adrian, I actually thought the music sounded pretty cool. I'm a sucker for kicked buckets though, and Goldberg apparently is classically trained in bucket playing, a real bucket virtuoso. I also liked the art pieces of character Ray Barko, a modern artist who uses taxidermy. Again, I'm pretty sure I was supposed to laugh at those works, but my favorite works of art are the ones that I can laugh at. The work of another artist, a character named Monroe, crossed the line from satirical to the unbelievably absurd. Like the only other Jonathan Parker (director) movie I've seen--Bartleby, with Crispin Glover--this seemed a little incomplete. I'm not sure it says what Parker wants it to say as completely or as coherently as it needs to. It's not a bad little film, but it should have been better. I did really like the last scene and the perfect look on Goldberg's face.

Galaxy 500 and Luna frontman Dean Wareham has a small role in this, by the way.

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