NOT SO SANE MAN’S GUIDE TO THE MULTIVERSE

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2011
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 153 minutes
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It’s early on in Brett William Mauser’s webseries, Not So Sane Man’s Guide to the Multiverse, that two of the main characters have a conversation about television shows, particularly ones like Lost, where the viewers are tortured with more and more mystery, only to never be fully satisfied by the few answers they’re given (if any). In this conversation, the filmmakers behind this webseries seemed to be making a pact with the audience, that the story we’re about to follow over seven episodes will deliver mystery, but not mystery for mystery’s sake, that everything is building to something satisfying.

Cut to a couple hours later and I’m shouting at my screen, because though Not So Sane Man’s Guide to the Multiverse does provide ample mystery and answers, it is hardly the self-contained story I thought the filmmakers were aiming for when they included that conversation. Maybe I need to re-watch the final few episodes, as there are certain elements of closure, but this story is nowhere near done.

But I’m ahead of myself. Not So Sane Man’s Guide to the Multiverse is the story of Brad (Bradley Bates), in numerous incarnations that may or may not be in his head, his past, his future or something else entirely. As the series sets up, Brad the mental patient tries to figure out why he is in the mental health hospital. At the same time, Brad the cop, trying to make detective, is doing the normal day-to-day duties with his partner Ernest (Ernest Martinez), while also pursuing a relationship with Claire (Aisha Love). Seemingly also at the same time, Brad the divorcée, a shell of the man he once was, living off the alimony supplied to him by now ex-wife Claire, is blossoming into a viral celebrity after a drunken night ranting on the internet. Oh, and then there’s the crazy guy (Sergio Cantu) with the water balloons, a potentially significant banana and a possible serial killer on the loose.

Confused? Believe it or not, it’s actually extremely easy to follow. The filmmakers did a great job of drawing the story out over the seven episodes, and even lull you into the more disturbing aspects of the mystery. By the time the revelations start coming about in the final episodes, you might have guessed some, but the entire narrative does come together. It also ends in a way that had me begging for more, which is something I don’t normally do with web series, even ones I enjoy.

Luckily, if you’re at all interested in this, you can give it a try right now. As of the writing of this review, all the episodes are available for viewing on YouTube, so you can work through them yourself. Maybe you’ll find more answers than I did, or maybe you’ll be right there with me wanting to know more. If nothing else, as is the best quality of web serials, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you don’t need to keep watching episodes. At worst, you spend thirty minutes.

Overall, it’s a fun science-fiction, somewhat crime thriller mystery series, with a humorous and playful tone thrown in for good measure. Even when things get serious, it doesn’t seem to take itself that seriously (one of the best one-liners comes when Brad finally remembers a moment from his childhood, even when the scene itself is rather spooky), and it’s a hard balance to strike, but Not So Sane Man’s Guide to the Multiverse pulls it off. Visually the series is a little rough and lo-fi, but having seen other work from filmmaker Brett William Mauser, I can say it was likely more of a lack of resources than a lack of talent or skill. It’d be interesting to see what another season, with more resources to work with, could look like.

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Posted on June 25, 2013 in Reviews by
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