“Kabluey” – Susan Granger reviews

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If you want to take a break from superheroes and stunts, consider this light-hearted, utterly charming low-budget screwball comedy about loneliness and alienation.

Left alone since her husband’s deployment to Iraq as a member of the National Guard, Leslie (Lisa Kudrow) is a frazzled, working mother. Frantic, she turns to her 32 year-old slacker brother-in-law, Salman (Scott Prendergast), who hasn’t a clue how to cope with his two totally undisciplined young nephews (Cameron Wofford, Landon Henninger), one of whom threatens, “I’m going to kill you.”

So Leslie gets him part-time work with BlueNexion, an incompetent company that’s barely surviving. His job is being Kabluey, the corporate mascot. That entails wearing a heavily padded, baby blue costume with a gigantic head while standing, sweltering in the sun, on the side of a remote highway, handing out flyers trying to sell office space in BlueNexion’s near-vacant building.

Writer/director/actor Scott Prendergast (last seen in the forgettable “The Hottie and the Nottie”) utilizes a kind of kooky, endearing visual comedy that harkens back to the silent films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, blending the physicality with a droll, satiric social commentary about the toll the war in Iraq is taking on military families. It’s semi-autobiographical because, when Prendergast’s brother was backdoor drafted and sent to the Middle East, he moved in with his sister-in-law to help care for her badly behaved kids.

Still shaking shades of “Friends,” Lisa Kudrow delivers a disarmingly vulnerable performance as a truly desperate housewife – with strong support from Teri Garr, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (familiar from “Grey’s Anatomy”) Christine Taylor (Ben Stiller’s wife), Conchata Ferrell and SNL veteran Chris Parnell. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Kabluey” is a surreal 7 – with timely, touching, thought-provoking relevance.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.