“Kabluey” – Susan Granger reviews
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.