Tribeca Review: Supporting Characters


[From April 19th to the 29th, Flixist will bring you live coverage of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Keep an eye out for news, features, interviews, videos, and reviews of some of the most anticipated films to hit the festival circuit in 2012.]

When a movie tries to tell a story about filmmakers, it puts itself between a rock and a hard place. There are obviously many legitimate and interesting stories that can be told about people who make movies, but as soon as I hear that the movie is about movies, even peripherally, I begin to pay attention to the small things even more closely. Imperfections in audio leveling and continuity go from being things that I notice to things that I actively look for. When the movie is not only about making movies but editing them, I look even harder. 

So I looked hard at Supporting Characters, and what I saw was far from perfect. But it sure was funny.

Supporting Characters
Directed by: Daniel Schechter
Release Date: TBD
Rating: R

Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe) are a pair of editing geniuses. They act as fixers, called in to make something completely unwatchable worth paying for. They redo dialogue, cut useless characters, and out comes a movie. Nick does almost all of the actual editing, and Darryl does important organizational things. Or at least that’s what Nick says. I’m not so sure, because I never saw Darryl do much other than complain about things and then take credit for them later. 

So Darryl’s not really a great guy. But, then again, neither is Nick. In fact, Nick might be worse. He’s arrogant about his work, obnoxious to his coworkers, inconsiderate of the people around him, and generally a pretty bad dude. So that’s 0 for 2. Both of Supporting Characters‘s protagonists kind of suck. Neither of them have any tact whatsoever, nor do they really care about anybody other than themselves and maybe each other. Their actions and dialogue are entirely self-serving, and it makes watching them cycle between funny and unpleasant very quickly. All of that is to say: they aren’t people I would want to spend time with. I respect myself too much.

Supporting Characters

And maybe that’s why it’s called Supporting Characters. The protagonists are terrible people, so all of the focus goes onto the normally peripheral characters. They don’t get as much screentime, but they are the ones worth caring about. I put a lot more effort into thinking about and feeling bad for Amy (Sophia Takal), Nick’s fiance, because he was a terrible person to her. I also put more effort into thinking about and feeling bad for Jamie (Arielle Kebbel), the superstar actress who falls for Nick (nice girls like jerks, am I right?) without realizing he’s already engaged.

Then there are the people Nick has to deal with in not-so-romantic encounters. There’s the director of the film Nick and Darryl have been called in to fix, Adrian (Kevin Corrigan), who is understandably upset about the direction his movie has taken (even though it is getting better without his help) and the producer, Mike (Mike Landry), who called them in in the first place. Although not all of them are great people either, the fact that they aren’t as fleshed out means that I can believe they have some serious issues going on behind the scenes that justify their attitudes.

And then there’s Liana (Melonie Diaz), who might have it the worst of all. She’s dating Darryl (seriously, what?). Like everybody else, she has her own issues, but she’s really just put herself in an awkward situation that she doesn’t understand. And how can she? Darryl comes across like kind of a nice guy at first. Stupid, sure, but kind of nice. Then he starts freestyle rapping about how, “Like Final Cut, I’m a pro,” and there goes that.

But all of that dysfunction and obnoxious behavior keeps things humorous and lighthearted. I’m not sure if it was supposed to always be that way, because dramatic, life changing things happen to some of the characters, but nothing ever felt particularly important. I had a sense of where things would head from early on in the film, and while I was curious how they would get there, I wasn’t particularly invested in the events. Mostly I just wanted somebody to say or do something funny.

Fortunately, that happened quite a bit.