To Live and Write in LA

LA Comedy Shorts Festival: Five Films, Five Styles

(Originally published on blogcritics.org)

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

Opening night at the Los Angeles Comedy Shorts Film Festival packed the Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S. Main Street in LA’s gentrifying inner city. (Only my respect for the Fire Marshal keeps me from telling you how packed.) If you were there, you enjoyed the unique experience of watching films, sitting amongst the filmmakers andactors; and laughing with them, too. The first night’s quintet of funny films each took a different tack to elicit the laughs.4 Pounds, by filmmaker Josh Levy, pokes fun at actors and self-involvement. He charts the disintegration of an actor who must lose four pounds in only four weeks! People in his life try to dissuade him from his ruinous path. The actor with the four pounds of flesh is Scott Thompson from Kids In The Hall. Scott also plays his character’s mom.

Rex Lee, from HBO’s Entourage, stars as Kim Jong Il in Nick Psinakis’ The Adoption Agency. Here, the filmmaker takes us into a situation that could never happen to poke fun at the self-righteous. Finding no one worthy of succeeded him in North Korea, Kim wants to adopt an American baby to take over his empire, but first he must first charm the panel of interviewers at the adoption agency. This film had Kim Jong Charm. (I had to say that to avoid a North Korean hit squad).

Rex Lee

Rex Lee

DILF (Google it, but not at work) is a tale by Geoff Edwards about Logan Holtzblatt, a sensible woman with a flaky actor Father (Tim Daly from Private Practice). Here we have realistic situations with realistic people. The humor comes from human frailty. Daughter Logan has developed strong defenses against her father’s weirdness. They don’t crumble until he comes to town and starts sleeping with her roommate.

A couple struggling with their finances stumble upon an unknowing sleepwalker and exploit her nightly episodes by selling tickets in Paul Bicke’s Turning Japanese. The situation starts off realistically, and the humor comes when the couple goes a little too far. They start to rake in the cash, but then everything goes wrong with a twist.

Williams, Roshar and Higman

Williams, Roshar and Higman

Michael Cera stars in Derek Westerman‘s Bad Dads. Cera plays a son who wants to connect with his dad, but discovers that his father is more strange than estranged. We see how one clueless individual can create havoc in the lives of everyone around him. That didn’t sound funny, but it was.

In additions to the features, first-nighters were also treated to a music video, Sometimes Pretty Girls, by festival Director Jeannie Roshar and Creative Director Gary Anthony Williams. Let’s just say that your old uncle is not the only one who has a finger to pull.

The frosting on the first night’s cake was a series of new and recent shorts from FunnyOrDie.com. They were funny. I didn’t die. I’m going back for more as the festival continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For ticket and schedule info check the festival website.

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