Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Malcolm McDowell, Jean Smart, Cybill Shepherd, Billy Dee Williams
Chris D'Arienzo, Frank Turner Hollon (book)
est. 90 Mins.
It's hard not to assume that Patrick Wilson has unresolved penis issues. How else to explain that his lates film Barry Munday is his third film in which his "manhood" is either injured or comes into question?
In Barry Munday, the opening night film of the 2010 Indianapolis International Film Festival, Wilson plays the title character, a man who could best be described as a "horn dog" who ogles the women in the office where he works as an insurance agent along with those in the suburban neighborhood where he lives. If you could sprinkle in bits of Office Space, Knocked Up and any number of other sexed up man-child flicks we've seen over the last 10 years, then you have a bit of an idea of what to expect from Barry Munday.
Well, except for the fact that director Chris D'Arienzo ups the ante a bit because that which means the most to Barry, his family jewels, are abruptly out of the picture in a tragic trumpet meets testicle accident that would be right at home in an American Pie flick. To make matters worse, Barry is abruptly slapped with a paternity lawsuit by a woman he can't even remember having sex with, Ginger (a frizzy Judy Greer).
What follows, on a certain level, has the heart and humor of Craig Gillespie's Lars and the Real Girl, a unique and quirky film in its own right. In this case, it may truly have taken Barry losing his manhood to finally make him a man.
While Barry Munday quite often has an approach that feels like Apatow Jr., D'Arienzo has a decidedly more relaxed, naturalistic approach when it comes to dealing with his relationship and, despite the oddball (pun intended) circumstances, the relationship between the 70's style man-whore Barry and the ever so off-kilter Ginger is surprisingly touching and endearing.
Much of the credit for the film's success goes to the stellar pairing of Wilson and Greer, who not only tap into their characters beautifully but have a funny yet sincere chemistry that seems to evade most comedies of this type. It's easy to see Barry and Ginger together, it's easy to see them fall apart and, as well, it's easy as heck to want to root for them to make it all work out. Despite the sheer lunacy of much of what goes on here, Wilson and Greer and their supporting cast make it all feel oh so right.
Barry Munday has an abundance of delightful quirks, ranging from Billy Dee Williams as a DeLorean driving insurance exec to yet another priceless turn by Malcolm McDowell, who gets to relax and be funny for a change. One of the film's true highlights is a hilarious scene involving Tenacious D's Kyle Gass and Christopher McDonald as equally testically challenged men.
Is "testically" even a word?
While Barry Munday occasionally falters and drags in a few spots and, at times, the dialogue itself rings a bit hollow, this indie cred comedy should do ample arthouse biz distributed by Magnolia Pictures following its festival run.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic