STARRING Lisa Haas, Susan Ziegler, Alex Karpovsky, Rae C. Wright WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Madeleine Olnek MPAA RATING NR RUNNING TIME 76 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY PRO-FUN media Filmverleih
"Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" is a Retro Romantic Comedy
If you'd have told me that I'd find a film called Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same to be a sweet, charming and thoroughly entertaining experience, I'd have likely laughed in your face.
For that matter, if you'd have told that I'd even find myself watching a film called Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same I'd have likely scoffed.
But, there you go.
Written and directed by Madeleine Olnek, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same is that rare low-budget sci-fi comedy that finds an absolutely perfect niche' and runs with it with a certain quiet yet glorious glee. The film centers around a lonely Manhattanite, Jane (Lisa Haas), and a terrestrial named Zoinx (Susan Ziegler) who is one of three female aliens who have been exiled from their home planet for having "big feelings" that are believed to be destroying their ozone layer.
Don't try to figure it out. Just go with it.
Lisa Haas is a sympathetic joy has Jane, a lonely store clerk who maintains her existence thanks to an active fantasy life and a committed therapist (Rae C. Wright). When Zoinx crosses her path, Jane's desire for some semblance for connection takes what could easily be seen as a completely absurd situation and adds a wealth of heart to the inherent humor.
As Zoinx, Susan Ziegler at times brings to mind Jane Curtin's old Coneheads skits from Saturday Night Live, though Ziegler infuses Zoinx with a sort of off-kilter humanity that makes you care about her immensely even as she largely maintains a monotone throughout the film's entire 76-minute running time.
The film is shot in a retro-styled black-and-white by D.P. Nat Bouman, who manages to make the film's obvious low-budget production values work to its advantage. The word "campy" does come to mind, but it's rather miraculous and satisfying that the film's camp is never done at the expense of its characters. Instead, it makes us adore them even more.
There's a sub-story involving two government agents (Dennis Davis and Alex Karpovsky) adds a sort of mock-doc feeling to the proceedings, a feeling that is only enhanced by the inclusion of actual footage from a 2010 U.F.O. scare.
Olnek, shooting her first feature film, is a veteran of stage and short film who manages to nail the tone perfectly in capturing both the low-budget sci-fi quirks yet also casting genuine actors who never allow the film to disintegrate into Ed Wood awfulness. Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks the Same played at Sundance Film Festival this year as part of the Park City at Midnight screenings and, indeed, this is likely to be a film to play best for open-minded audiences who will just surrender to its silly charms.