By Daniel Barnes
*Opens Friday at Embarcadero Center Cinemas in San Francisco, Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, and Nickelodeon Theatres in Santa Cruz. Currently available on VOD.
A Sundance-era “that guy” with nearly 100 feature film credits in the last quarter century, Kevin Corrigan has always been an actor who speaks and moves to rhythms that only he can hear. If Christopher Walken really does remove all of the punctuation from his screenplays, then Corrigan collects that discarded punctuation and randomly scrambles it into his own scripts. Corrigan is just as singular and compelling an actor as Walken, and yet he hasn’t received 5% of the acclaim. This barbed comedy from indie legend Andrew Bujalski (Mutual Appreciation; Computer Chess) is getting promoted as a Guy Pearce/Cobie Smulders rom-com, but the breakout star is Corrigan, getting one of his juiciest, Corrigan-iest roles in years, and giving a career-defining performance in exchange. He plays Danny, a pasty, balding, newly divorced, and newly wealthy schlub who joins a gym run by Pearce and hires a personal trainer played by Smulders because “I wanna be able to take a punch.” Danny gets stoned and drunk alone all day in a giant, empty house in a strange city, but the characters played by Pearce and Smulders are similarly lonely and confused – they just have more health-conscious coping mechanisms. Whether playing the electric guitar while answering the door or doing a lurching shimmy behind the closing credits, Corrigan permeates the film with his playfully dour and strangely honest personality. “I just don’t get reality anymore,” says Danny, and coming out of Corrigan’s mouth, you believe it.