Starring Kieran Culkin. Rated PG
Texas-based writer-director (and sometime actor) Bob Byington has explored the limits of sly laughter in films like Harmony and Me and Somebody Up There Likes Me, featuring a repertory company of resourceful farceurs like Nick Offerman and Kevin Corrigan. They show up in Byington’s latest no-budget delight, actually written by Turkish American Onur Tukel, but in the same style, which you could maybe call magic unrealism.
Offerman plays the owner of a strange tech company that accidentally came up with a gene that produces children who never age. And Living in Oblivion’s Corrigan is possibly his worst employee, although what the company is selling is pretty murky. Apparently, they pay you to take the babies for three-month periods. Or something. Don’t worry: they only poop once a week!
The Corrigan character’s partner in this enterprise is played by Martin Starr, and a Silicon Valley vibe hangs around the edges, although the tech town here is Austin, by way of Slacker, with its Frank Lloyd Gone Wrong architecture grounded in low-contrast black-and-white. Corrigan and Starr’s duo—they might be a romantic couple, too, but still aren’t sure—answer to the boss’s nephew Ben, played by Kieran Culkin in a part that should be infuriating but simply amuses at every turn. This aging Peter Pan seemingly relies on his mother (Megan Mullally, married to Offerman in real life) to discourage girlfriends from getting closer. He’s no sooner dumped Master of None’s Noël Wells this way than he meets a bigger challenge in a lovable ditz played by Banshee’s funny Trieste Kelly Dunn.
Meanwhile, people drink too much, hurt each other, and occasionally have to go to an underground bag man (Office Space great Stephen Root) to fix potentially fatal problems. Does any of it matter? Of course not. At 70 minutes, there’s just enough “plot” to keep the perfectly matched cast sniping at each other with quips that feel ad-libbed but are actually tightly scripted. “Maybe being selfish and irresponsible isn’t the best way to live,” someone muses to himself. The moment passes quickly.