|Too Much Sleep|
|David Maquiling's Debut Film Will Put You Down For The Count|
by Marcy Dermansky
But not here. The suburbs aren't intrinsically interesting. You need a good story and a compelling main character, both of which David Maquiing is lacking. It took all of my willpower not to walk out of this movie. A couple of times (I am not making this up) I almost did fall asleep.
is about 24 year old Jack (Marc Palmieri), an aimless, unambitious narcoleptic
security guard whose gun is stolen on his bus trip home from work. The
film is about Jack's journey to reclaim this gun. So what is going to
happen? He's gonna find his gun. He's going to wander around the suburbs
with a sidekick named Uncle Eddie; he's gonna woo the pretty girl who
helped steal his gun (but implausibly doesn't recognize him until after
they have sex). In the process, he finds himself. Do we care? Does the
person Jack at the end of the film seem any more interesting than the
tired boy at the beginning who wears the shirt his mother buys for him?
And the script was plain bad. To find his gun, Jack is exposed to and endless series of strange characters. There's a suburban woman he follows to the shopping mall, aerobics class, and the gynecologist. He goes to a party where he meets quirky character after quirky character: first a gay racquetball player, later a female manager of a male strip joint who makes Jack take off his shirt and then has him beat up. I didn't believe any of it -- plus I didn't care. It takes Jack several days, numerous naps, and countless dull interactions with too many freaks to count to get his gun back. You need a fast forward button for the monologues you are forced to endure. Sorry, but throwing dozens of bizarre characters into your screenplay doesn't make for an intriguing plot.
Critics are praising David Maquiling for going back to independent roots: the ennui of the suburbs. I'm all for it. I grew up in New Jersey, after all, and I have my own opinions. I also have enough respect for my middle class background to state that not every one you meet is an unattractive weirdo. There are homes with interiors that are not tacky beyond belief, and you don't need a gun to find yourself.
There are numerous directors whose take of life in the suburbs is worth watching. Rent the little known and wonderful "My New Gun," directed by Stacy Cochran, that features Diane Lane in a white go-go dress who is given a pearl-handled gun by her conservative suburban husband. Watch Todd Solondz's brutal depiction of growing up in the suburbs in "Welcome to the Dollhouse." Indulge in the Long Island Experience with Hal Hartley, whose early films "The Unbelievable Truth" or "Trust " are fine examples of stylized perfection.
But if you have the choice of taking a nap or watching "Too Much Sleep," the choice is clear. Or you might consider bowling or go see a block buster. Brush your hair. Walk the dog. Do the dishes. Go to the mall. Solve a cross word puzzle. Mow the lawn.