Cut from the same cloth a Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice, TV Land’s forthcoming comedy NOBODIES puts a spotlight on a specific part of the comedy community, exploring what happens when the dreams of your peers come true and you’re left in the same place with no signs of progress in the foreseeable future. Where the film Don’t Think Twice focused on the emotional heft of the highs and lows of improv comedy, Nobodies approaches the world of comedy troupes with an absurdist and hysterical self-absorbed slant.
Executive produced, written by and starring Groundlings alums Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras, the show follows their lives as struggling comedians who are trying to land their feature script, Mr. First Lady at a major studio. All the while, they see their fellow Groundlings soar to success. As they take meetings with executives they try their hardest to make a good impression but end up digging themselves deeper into a hole that they can’t get out of — but seeing them try is hysterical. With Mad TV alum Michael McDonald as showrunner and Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone as executive producers, the show is in very good hands. In the pilot, Davidson, Dorf, and Ramras shine as each minute passes, delivering pitch-perfect jokes and impressing with their comedic chemistry and timing. As they play versions of themselves amongst big names like Jim Rash, Nat Faxon, Jason Bateman, and Maya Rudolph, they execute a show that balances comedy, humiliation, and earnestness effortlessly. The first two episodes build a solid foundation for a comedy series that will end up on one of those “Best Shows You Aren’t Watching” lists. So do yourself a favor: be an early adopter and watch Nobodies when March 29.
There are certain chunks of HOT SUMMER NIGHTS that are very hip, cool, and sexy. It has the look and feel of a breakout indie hit, but storywise, it flounders. Set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the summer of 1991, the film follows awkward and lanky outsider Daniel (Call Me by Your Name breakout Timothée Chalamet) as he develops an unlikely relationship with the town’s bad boy Hunter (Alex Roe). They get into the weed-selling game and at a certain point in their wheeling and dealing, they look to expand their business, only to get involved in a more dangerous drug ring. During all of this madness, Daniel develops a forbidden romance with Hunter’s estranged sister McKayla (Maika Monroe) and a huge hurricane is set to make landfall. Needless to say, things aren’t looking good for anyone — including the audience watching this film.
One thing is for certain: the cast delivers great performances, but the film can’t decide what it wants to be. There are moments when it seems like a straigh-up coming-of-age story similar to The Way Way Back and then it shifts to a story about small-town drug dealers. Then there’s the element of a hurricane which gives some major Twister vibes and quick cuts, close-ups and camera work that mimic an Edgar Wright film. As the feature debut of writer/director Elijah Bynum, the action-thriller-comedy-coming-of-age period piece is all over the place and has a difficult time sticking to a tone. Bynum certainly has a distinct point-of-view, but his vision needed to be edited. The talented cast shows up and commit to Bynum’s vision with some wonderful ’90s flair (although some of the costumes seemed more ’80s), but the performances aren’t strong enough to make up for the film’s inconsistent tone and story.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer
SXSW runs from March 10 through 19. For more of the Tracking Board’s coverage of SXSW, click here.