WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Oh what price do dreams come alive—or die. On the roads we choose to walk through life, how often is it that opportunity might knock, staring us right in the face, only to summarily go unnoticed or unacknowledged by our own distracted existence? How often do these same chances dare us to step out and become more than we could ever have hoped? Audrey Brodsky (Tegan Ashton Cohan) grew up with dreams, encouraged by a doting mother Mary (Jesse Meriwether), but not so much by a mainly inattentive father Joe (John Alton). Realizing that acting was going to be her one chance, Audrey leaves home at the tender age of–22–to pursue her lofty ambitions, wide-eyed and full of spunk.
But when life throws her into a completely mundane, file folders and forms-laden “career” instead, she turns for solace to her support group friends Kitty (Christina Marie Moses), Zoey (Elana Krausz), Susan (Leigh Sill Forrest), and leader Sammy (Cindy Baer). Still unsatisfied, Audrey links up with a local, novice cinematographer named Camera One (Matthew Kevin Anderson) and a hot stoner roomie, Steve aka: “Spuds” (Scotty Dickert), to begin a new reality show. But, as her adventures take on twists and turns, headaches and heartbreaks, highs and lows, successes and failures, Audrey’s mindset and confidence continue to be shot down as hope slips away. But isn’t that exactly when that which seems gone forever takes a totally unanticipated, life-altering turn? Or will Audrey’s yearnings fade out like a finale on a film screen?
Next, my Mind:
With a foundation steeped in eccentricity, molded by succinctly presented, highly idiosyncratic jocularity, and executed with an overall comedic delivery that is a wonderful ode to the master of such quirkiness Wes Anderson, director/producer/actress Baer’s 93-minute indie feature film hurtles along with these elements in tow with beautiful effectiveness, heart-filled intent, and a message that will very much resonate with anyone who has ever challenged themselves to believe beyond hopelessness, criticism, closed doors, and other obstacles that attempt to stand in the way of desires and goals for a more fulfilled life. Infused within this comes the straight-up zaniness that is brought about by all the inside jokes about the world of celebrity–it’s vanity, shallowness, yet all-too-common allure–and how it appeals to those innocents with stars in their eyes coming to L.A. to make it big in “the business”. It is with these additional facets being entertained here that give the film its pathos-imbued, honest, emotionally-driven tone that helps offset the oddball humor perfectly. With the use of so many locations, musical interludes, and a huge cast of characters to take in, this really is the total package for fans of intelligent, peculiar comedy.
Cohan is bubbly, oh-so-cute, persuasively funny, sometimes tragic, sometimes heroic, and convincingly real in her role as Audrey, a prototypical downtrodden soul, whose attempts at doe-eyed optimism, a “work hard and you’ll succeed” mentality, and perpetually dogged belief in her acting dreams all get their fair share of reality checks amidst the corny chaos that ensues. But, as hinted above, it’s when the serious and wrenching moments in the character’s plight occur that really allows Cohan to shine rawly bright in helping us realize that no matter Audrey’s awkwardness, naiveté, mistakes, or seemingly unattainable aspirations, overcoming it all is key to cutting through the BS, even when things still might not end up as planned. It’s a passionate performance that Cohan delivers with poise and conviction throughout, allowing us to feel and experience the laughs and laments along the way. Supporting roles abound to superb and equally kooky and profound effect. While there are far too many of these satellite characters to fully cover them all, this reviewer certainly wants to highlight some as follows below.
The support group friends Audrey maintains is a total riot yet heartwarming, with Moses as Kitty, who has the same mentality and wishes to better herself, Krausz as the embittered, cynical, profanity-spewing Zoey, who has pretty much lost her drive for any meaningful successes, Forrest as the high-pitched voiced Susan, who certainly means well but comes across more often as a total space cadet, and Baer as group leader Sammy, who might need to actually take some of the over amounts of advice she tends to dole out to others. Anderson plays the budding cinematographer Camera One with such subdued flare, his puppy love-infused, true-hearted friendship with Audrey at the forefront of often unspoken moments. Dickert is a hysterical trip as Audrey’s constantly wasted yet uncannily successful actor/yard keeper roomie Steve aka “Spuds”, who her attraction to is both expected yet far too impulsive and unwise at the same time. Alton and Meriwether do a wonderful job as Audrey’s polar opposite parents, which very much explains how Audrey is the way she is. Additionally, there are turns from Ilana Klusky as the young Audrey, Jim Hanks as “God” (watch the film, folks), and Mark Chaet as Audrey’s boss Rex.
In total, with all of its offbeat, satirical, and resolute traits on full display, “Odd Brodsky” ultimately presents an earnest, enthusiastic, sincere, entertaining, relatable, and touching tale that this reviewer actually could relate to far more than ever would have been thought. What that says is what I’ve always said about indie cinema when done right–it illuminates what it is to be human.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!