By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
One of the independent films playing at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, TX is Barry Munday. With a cast including Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Malcolm McDowell and Cybill Sheppard, it definitely feels like a A-list project. You know the faces, but you also know they’ll deliver on the story, not marquee value.
Review: Barry Munday
Womanizer Barry Munday (Wilson) loses his testicles when he cavorts with a lady just a little bit too young and her father confronts him with a trombone. That’s a pretty outrageous high concept, but the film gets over it really quickly. There are the jokes about bandaging and icing the wound, but the film really deals with the existential crisis of what a man does when he loses his raison d’etre.
Barry finds out that one of his other conquests (Greer) is pregnant. Since that is the last time his seed will ever have a chance to fertilize, he decides to get involved and be a partner for the pregnancy, and a present father.
The quirky tone of the film is what makes Barry Munday most identifiable as a festival film. Yet quirky has become so mainstream, it’s going to be really accessible to people, like Little Miss Sunshine. It’s really funny and endearing, without pandering to obvious punchlines and stunts.
I actually really enjoyed the early scenes of Barry working the local Chili’s with his A game. His attempts to coin a catch phrase are lame in the best way. He thinks he’s so clever, and I believe he is the hottest stud at that Chili’s.
The film is sleazy without being vulgar. I like characters who go there (Quagmire, The Todd…) but there’s no need to disrespect anyone. Just be honest. Even after his game becomes moot, Barry remains immature in serious situations like a doctor’s office. He does follow a respectable character arc, never sacrificing humor to learn his lessons.
It’s the rhythm of the interaction between <B>Barry Munday</B>’s characters that sets it apart from the usual comedy. It should do well getting a lot of buzz on the festival circuit, and I’m confident you can expect to see it get distribution.