Projections - Movie Reviews

Laughing Boy

Laughing Boy is a film produced by Brazil J. Grisaffi, directed by Brazil J. Grisaffi and starring Brazil J. Grisaffi.  As with many independent films one person wears many hats.  In this case on one hand Grisaffi is the filmís best asset and on the other its weak link.

The film, adapted from an original play by George Douglas Lee, is a comedy focusing on Cody McKenzie (Grisaffi) and his irreverent approach to the world.  It takes place at the engagement party of Codyís best friend, Michael.  The party is being given by socialite Elizabeth Sheridan and is attended by parodies every type of party guest one could imagine - a resentful husband, snobbish boors, a woman who wonít shut up, even a televangelist.  Cody manages to upset them all with his obnoxious antics, which include his throwing his pants at another guest and giving a box of shit as a hostess gift to Elizabeth.

Grisaffi as Cody would be funnier if he didnít try so hard to be obnoxious.  It feels as if Grisaffi wasnít as effective at directing himself as he was with the rest of the cast.  His best moments come when his character is sharing his warped philosophical take on the world.  These quiet moments are amusing and warm at the same time.  You can see why the women in Codyís life care about him in spite of himself and why the men completely resent him.

The cast is a wonderful ensemble of local Houston talent.  Anne Quackenbush, as Codyís wife Judy, has the right blend of spunk and groundedness.  Bob Gebert and Bryan McGlothin are wonderful as uptight obnoxious boors.  And Therese Kotara, as Elizabeth Sheridan, the object of Codyís fantasies, does a good job of trying to hold everything together while allowing us to empathize with her when it all falls apart.

Laughing Boy is fun to watch and refreshing in its originality which includes imaginative use of animation in Codyís many fantasies.  It is continually humorous with the funniest scene at the very end of the movie.  Brazil Grisaffi did a good job putting together this movie and I look forward to seeing more of his work.  However, maybe he should get someone else to direct him in his scenes.

Laughing Boy

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