Joe Martin (Jason Sedillo) is an average guy. He's unemployed and his marriage is suffering. After yet another rejection, his wife (Caitlin Rose Williams) arranges an interview for Joe at a local waste management company. After all, he's got to work somewhere.
Determined to NOT work in waste management, Joe spots an ad for a superhero. Thinking it must be some customed party gig, Joe applies and pours on his qualifications rather thickly. Of course, he's hired by Blinx (Akasha Banks-Villalobos) and immediately sent over to Dr. Mystico (Taylor James Johnson) in HR. Before he knows it, Joe realizes that this ain't no party gig and he may very well be in way over his head.
Writer/director Mark Cantu's Now Hiring may very well bring back memories of a certain godawful yet adorable Damon Wayans film, Blankman. While Now Hiring goes into different places than that film, they have a certain similar spirit of an average joe proving that he's not really that average. When Lord Menace (Camden Toy) hatches an evil plan to create chaos throughout San Antonio, Blinx, Joe, and the rest of the gang are called into action.
Now Hiring both pokes fun at and affectionately embraces the superhero genre of filmmaking, a genre that seems to flood the multiplexes these days between the Marvel Universe, the world of DC and your occasional independent. Joe, as played by Sedillo, is a disheveled and not particularly gifted superhero in a costume best described as ill-fitting and with skills that ain't about to pay the superhero's bills. But, of course, something happens over the course of Now Hiring and the guy who doesn't seem to fit in ends up teaching everyone a whole heck of a lot about what it means to really be a superhero.
The film is also a film about marriage. It's about a guy who will do what it takes, because doing what it takes matters and if it'll save his marriage then he's willing to take the chance.
There's something pretty awesome about that.
Now Hiring is an ambitious film and, yeah, as an indie production it doesn't quite always live up to that ambition. For the most part, Cantu's comic sensibility makes it all work and for a low-budget indie it's a film with some fun laughs, a great message, and some winning performances along the way.
Sedillo makes for an awkwardly funny yet endearing superhero, while Caitlin Rose Williams gives nice warmth and humor as his loving wife. Akasha Banks-Villalobos is solid as Blinx. Taylor James Johnson likely comes closer than anyone to truly nailing the film's cartoonish humor and tone, but the most credit should probably be given to Cantu for creating a story that feels like Flash Gordon meets Blankman at your local shopping mall. It's weird, it's fun and it's available now from indie distributor Indican Pictures.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic