June 17, 2016
SIFF Cinema Uptown | Best of SIFF 2016
Winner: SIFF 2016 Grand Jury Prize, New American Cinema
This hilarious and thrilling Coen Brothers-esque comedy of errors introduces a hapless wannabe comedian (Jim O'Heir, "Parks and Recreation") who finds himself caught up in a desert killing spree with an unexpected consequence—it greatly improves his stand-up.
Lenny Freeman (Jim O'Heir, "Parks and Recreation") is a straight-laced old-school accountant with a dream of becoming a famous stand-up comedian, following in the footsteps of such vaudevillian heroes as George Burns and Jack Benny. One problem: He's not very funny—not even a little bit. When his mother dies, leaving him nothing but debt and her '53 Oldsmobile, Lenny hits the road to Vegas in hopes of auditioning for Monte Guy's annual "Stand-Up Stand-Off." Along the way, Lenny picks up Hitch (Andrew J. West, "The Walking Dead"), a mysterious yet charming drifter with a hair-trigger temper. When the pair roll into the small town of Lamb Bone, Hitch convinces Lenny to perform at the local open-mike night. Following a disastrous set, Lenny and Hitch awake the next morning to discover a murdered heckler in the car trunk. Lenny panics as they try to dispose of the body, but he soon discovers these events have one positive effect: They vastly improve his stand-up routine. As bodies pile up, however, the high-strung Lenny desperately tries to free himself from his psychotic sidekick, but Hitch won't shake off so easily; they've got a contract with each other, and the devil is in the details. Combining vintage neo-noir style with Coen Brothers-esque dark comedy, writer/director Ned Crowley fashions a maliciously entertaining debut feature.
Ned Crowley is the writer of the festival-winning dark comedy Parting Words. Middle Man is his first film as both writer and director.
- Director: Ned Crowley
- Principal Cast: Jim O'Heir, Andrew J. West, Josh McDermitt, Anne Dudek, Tracey Walter
- Country: USA
- Year: 2016
- Running Time: 101 minutes
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film