Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 96 minutes
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Writer/director Jason Kartalian slams his struggling screenwriter lead character Marty (Jeffrey Stubblefield) pretty hard for writing primarily about himself. Yet, just a hunch here, but one gets the very strong feeling that writing about himself is exactly what Kartalian is guilty of in “Pedestrian;” that Marty is quite possibly the on-screen personification of Kartalian himself. Let’s hope not, however, because Marty is kind of an odd duck. His girlfriend leaves him because he refuses to grow, his day job is hacking out the script “Hot Pants 2″ — later jettisoned in favor of “Supermodels 2000″ — for smarmy, gold chain wearing schlockmeister director Barry Barani (Krikor Satamian), and he’s far too thin-skinned to take his best friend Joe’s (Joe Seely) constructive criticism on his pet script project.
As if the inherent pressure of trying to write his own breakthrough screenplay isn’t enough, Marty develops a growing suspicion that Barry’s production company is nothing more than an investment fraud scheme. Combined with his Quixotic attempt to imbue the “Supermodels” script with some depth, it all becomes too much for him and Marty cracks. First, he spills the beans about the fraud to a pathetic elderly investor which sets the frustrated writer up to be rubbed out by Barry and his mobster henchman Andrew (Jerry Corley). Then, raising the danger is Lauren (Melissa Marie Lewis), the stunning femme fatale character Marty wrote, who comes to life, only to drive him deeper into trouble with Barry and his boys.
Ho hum. Well, not Lauren, who is anything but, but everything else about this confused comedy thriller is as ordinary and humdrum as the title suggests. The film’s lack of originality starts right at the core. How many times do we need to see a film about an aspiring screenwriter coming to life inside one of his own scripts? It continues with all the other characters, who are as stamped out of a mold as soap opera stiffs. On top of it all is the murky and bumbling way in which reality and Marty’s delusions overlap. It’s an intriguing technique if done properly; confusing if it’s not. It’s not here.
Stubblefield is actually good enough to drag the film along with him while Seely’s Joe, the most interesting character by far, is grossly underused. Even setting aside an ingrained disdain for movies about filmmaking, this film isn’t nearly as clever as it thinks it is. Instead, this is one “Pedestrian” that walks with a limp.
Posted on August 16, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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