Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Adam Pally plays a loser-times-ten in Dan Gregor and Doug Mand's comedy/mystery, MOST LIKELY TO MURDER

How bracing is it to see a American independent movie in which the hero is a loser par excellence, a guy who possesses -- from what we can tell early on and for most of this alternately funny, bizarre and occasionally a little too been-there/done-that film -- almost nothing at all to recommend him.

The fact that lead actor Adam Pally mostly pulls this off is commendation enough to try this movie, which also feature good performances from Vincent Kartheiser and Rachel Bloom (a bit wasted here, but certainly out of her Crazy Ex-Girlfriend mode and into relative normalcy).

MOST LIKELY TO MURDER is a family film -- at least, in the sense that it's all about family life, at its oddest, if not worst. It's our "hero," Billy, and his visit to his own family, even as he connects to the families  of his best friend and his not-so-good-friend across the street, that sets off the movie's ridiculous but amusing and very oddball plot, in which a murder appears to have been committed, which, of course, must be investigated and solved.

The director and co-writer (with Doug Mand, shown above, foreground), Dan Gregor (shown above in the background) does a fine job of plopping us immediately into the awful Las Vegas life of Billy, who is clearly an asshole on the job and off. When he gets home, in the very next scene, he becomes even more of one. Billy is one of those high school smart-asses who was popular in the day but never managed to grow up. Mr. Pally (below, left) makes him so obnoxious that he nearly hypnotizes us: How much worse can he get? we wonder in amazement. You have no idea.

Ms Bloom (above, center), as Billy's very ex girlfriend, provides some necessary ballast to Pally's antics, and Mr. Kartheiser (above, right), as the closest thing to a villain that the movie provides, offers up his usual obnoxious manner, here tempered with both creepiness and just a little sadness regarding how badly used by Billy this poor kid was in high school.

TrustMovies doesn't want to oversell this piece of low-end Americana. It's fun but not great. Yet considering how few comedy/mysteries arrive on screen these days, together with how many actual laughs the movie does provoke, you could do a lot worse. And when, at last, a kind of redemption arrives for our hero, it is, for a change, both justified and oddly original.

From Lionsgate's STUDIO L and running 97 minutes, the movies arrives today, May 1, on DVD, digital and VOD -- for purchase and/or rental.

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