Film Review: Frozen River
Film Review: Fly Me to the Moon 3-D

Film Review: Kabluey

KABLUEY still

“Kabluey” introduces the world to Scott Prendergast, who assumes nearly all production roles for this quirky feature. The movie has all the ornamentation of a strident indie comedy leading with braying irony, but Prendergast doesn’t chase alternative statements, he wants to make people laugh, and “Kabluey” is one of the more inventive, invigorating productions to come out of the industry’s lonely right field.

Overwhelmed with domestic duties and depression while her husband is away in Iraq, Leslie (Lisa Kudrow) looks to her loser brother-in-law Salman (Scott Prendergast) for help. Moving in with Leslie and her demonic children, Salman is immediately in over his head, which prompts Leslie to secure a job for him as a mascot for a failing dot-com company to help with the bills. Stuck in an oversized, blue felt suit on a desert highway, Salman is allowed a rare moment of introspection, while learning the suit has strange confessional powers over strangers. Empowered by his alter-ego, Salman attempts to heal Leslie’s emotional wounds.

In many ways, “Kabluey” reminded me of Wes Anderson’s directorial commencement shot, “Bottle Rocket.” The similarities are not found in the plot or art-direction flavors, but the freshness of the humor took me back to Anderson’s film, and how it surprised at a time when nothing but  masturbatory laments for lost college years were passing for crafty indie comedies. “Kabluey” is a simple thing, created with heart and sparkling comic timing, revealing Prendergast to be quite a talent behind the camera, and not such a bad presence in front of one.

Obviously, most of the comedy emerges from Salman’s trials in the mascot suit. A lovely bit of costume design that immediately evokes a traditional dot-com corporate thumbprint, the suit is an unwieldy felt coffin, which the director contrasts beautifully against the bewildered, slightly fearful world. The mascot also permits Salman to gather secrets, gain the trust of others, and hide his humiliations; Prendergast achieves a miraculous tone that finds sympathy for this ridiculous vision, while also maintaining clarity on the man within. It’s a double life for Salman, leading to hilarious moments of exposure and acceptance.

Observing the single-minded destructive efforts of children, furious office interaction (pricelessly imagined by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Conchata Ferrell), and Salman’s various domestic disturbances, “Kabluey” is uproarious. Prendergast’s direction is pitch-perfect and whimsical without slipping on acts of sarcasm, lending the film an endearing personality and lasting comic effect. It also helps to put forth an able cast, anchored well by Kudrow, who fills in the picture’s light dramatic shadings with a compassionate polish.

“Kabluey” moves away from episodic environments to a tale of redemption as Salman rushes to save the day in the final reel. Thankfully, Prendergast also preserves the humor, steering the picture away from tempting melodrama. “Kabluey” is a breath of fresh air, delightfully arranged and winningly staged by Prendergast in a rewarding fashion that has me excited to see his next cinematic step.

A-


KABLUEY

Comments

salman

this review is quite good.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)