Original Post Date: 8/21/2009
Netflix Watch Instantly
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Starring: Zach Galafianakis, Judy Greer
Writer: Brandon Drake
Director: Jared Drake

A cool indie movie with an original premise and featuring last time anyone will see Zach Galifianakis play it somewhat straight for a very long time.

Thanks to the massive success of The Hangover (and to a lesser extent G-Force), Zach Galifianakis has finally hit the mainstream audience right in the face, using his weird comedic timing and off-kilter appearance. Personally, I’ve been digging on his schtick for awhile now, with his stand-up routine and appearances in movies like Out Cold (which I maintain is awesome). I wanted to delve much further into his aura and found a movie called Visioneers on Netflix Watch Instantly. Instead of finding Galifianakis doing his traditional routine, I found something quite different…and really entertaining.
Galifianakis stars in this alternate reality black comedy as George Washington Winsterhammerman (say that without running out of breath), a lowly Level 3 worker for The Jeffers Corporation, a company that preaches productivity and happiness, and is endorsed by the U.S. President. His life is empty; he works his job (which is essentially reading small print with a magnifying glass over his eye; a “Visioneer”), he cannot sexually please his wife Michelle (Judy Greer), and the only happiness gets is over the phone to a level 4 worker named Charisma (Mia Maestro; sounds like a porn name, doesn’t it?). In this reality, with people just trying to be productive and not experiencing any joy, there has become the epidemic of stress causing people to explode. This isn’t a metaphor: people literally spontaneously blow up when they get too stressed out. As The Jeffers Corporation fights this and George begins experiencing symptoms (having dreams), his brother gets out of prison and starts a hippie-like freedom movement in George’s backyard. The crux of the story is: can George truly find happiness or will he explode?

Galifianakis is not his usual self in this; if you want zany, stick with The Hangover or any of his improvised stuff. Instead, Galifianakis plays George very subdued, like a zombie who is just going through the motions with no rhyme or reason. The world wants productivity; he gives it to them. It’s an excellent performance, and he shows some actual range as an actor that I didn’t know he had. He kept me interested through the whole film. Judy Greer is excellent once again as Michelle, who is so desperate to be happy that she does whatever TV personality Sara (Missi Pyle of Home Alone 4 fame) tells her to do. Her frustration is very real, and you really feel for her.

The movie as a whole is very dark, but has some very funny moments. During late nights when George gorges on leftovers and watches TV, he comes across a guy named Mack Luster. It’s the cheesiest 80’s action hero ever, but the 1 minute scene had me in tears. There are other funny moments too, but it’s more of a smirk kind of funny rather than a laugh out loud riot, and it’s definitely a dark comedy.

I don’t think it’ll be for everyone. I can see some people finding this to be another generic independent film with a quirky premise. However, if you can suck it up, give it a watch, at least to see possibly one of the only times Galifianakis is going to show real range, because lets face it: after The Hangover, the guy is going to get ridiculously typecast. Have a Jeffers day.

Final Verdict:
B-

 


Comments

10/25/2010 02:29

A truth is better than a thousand gold pieces, warm WanLiHan frost, Can deliver a salute, A sweet greetings to my mind, Madly busy days take good care of yourself and LuBao a way from the grasslands, A greeting, bring me fragrant smell. From the north of blessing, let me feel the p recious friendship.

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