A. Michael Colton
Manu Intiraymi, Bob Clendenin, Jo Newman, Chris Owen, Joseph Williamson, Barry Kneller
It's not often that one can call a film a light-hearted romp through excessive drug use, but that's precisely the set-up with Expired, a unique inventive 22-minute comedy short written by Barry Kneller and directed by A. Michael Colton starring Manu Intiraymi (Star Trek Voyager) as Jerry "The Tweaker," a faux meter maid who has been running a scam to support his ever increasing drug habit. Jerry spends his day going around checking for expired meters, and when he finds one he pounces on the unsuspecting car owner in a way that makes you wonder why such a thing doesn't happen more often. By day's end, Jerry heads off to see his free-spirited drug dealer, Mr. Happy (Bob Clendenin, 10 Items or Less), before returning home to his equally addicted girlfriend (Jo Newman, Love and Other Drugs).
Entertainingly written by Barry Kneller, Expired is one of those films that sounds like a really awesome idea. Heck, it is a really awesome idea. For some reason, however, the resulting film never quite gels. Much of the problem lies in the lead character of Jerry, who comes off in the film as more caricature than character. In order to really buy into Jerry's ruse, even on a comedic level, it's necessarily to buy into at least a modicum of believability in the situation.
I never did.
From point one, Jerry looks and feels like a strung out, hyped up and completely wasted guy who couldn't for five minutes sell himself convincingly as a meter maid or, for that matter, a cashier at the McDonald's drive-thru. Nearly all of his victims, especially the always delightful Chris Owen (whom I will always treasure for his performance in the vastly underrated teen flick Angus), come off as relatively put together and intelligent human beings who would have to be completely sub-moronic to buy into Jerry's charade.
Again, I just never bought into the basic premise of Expired. As a result, there was no investment in the story and less satisfaction from film's comic elements.
While Expired never quite gels cinematically, that's not to say there aren't superb elements within the film with special kudos going to Kneller for his uniquely inspired script and D.P. Jason Newfield for camera work that seems to jibe with Kneller's script and manages to infuse the film with moments of both levity and humanity.
Intiraymi is most effective in the film's lighter moments, where his free-spirited romps are woven together as a sort of stoner-like innocence tweaked (pun intended) ever so lightly with a touch of drama. Chris Owen, Bob Clendenin and Kneller are noteworthy in supporting appearances.
One gets the sense that director A. Michael Colton has a unique vision, and while this film may not quite come together I can't help but look forward to his next project.
For more information on Expired, visit its official website listed above.