Sundance homilies and truisms are encased in a meta frame in I’m Reed Fish, screenwriter Reed Fish’s semi-autobiographical tale about seizing the day, chasing dreams, and learning to chart one’s own life path. They’re lessons taught on the first day of Introduction to Indie Filmmaking, and given little uniqueness by the saga of Reed (Jay Baruchel), a 23-year-old following in his beloved dad’s footsteps by working as a radio DJ in his country hometown of Mud Meadows. Reed and his local radio show and TV broadcasts about mundane community issues like runaway peacocks and shrubbery ordinances are the glue that holds the quiet burg together. Yet the arrival of old friend Jill (Schuyler Fisk)—and the fact that she attended college in the big city—soon make him question whether his career and impending marriage to childhood sweetheart Kate (Alexis Bledel) are things that he really desires, or simply aspirations forced upon him by others. Cue the guy-with-a-guitar soundtrack, because director Zackary Adler’s laidback yarn is nothing if not predictable mush about “being yourself,” characterized by familiar golden sunlight hues, tender heart-to-hearts about love, courage, and loss, and quirky-endearing performances from a cast that also features DJ Qualls, Katey Sagal, Chris Parnell, and Victor Rasuk. Reed’s very minor journey toward self-actualization isn’t marked by a single penetrating moment, though Adler’s generally rote, DV-shot story does contain one unforeseen surprise: midway through, the film reveals itself to actually be a film-within-a-film made by Reed and starring many of his friends (who are playing themselves). Rather than transforming into a small-scale 8 ½, however, I’m Reed Fish introduces its reality-rupturing twist only to then ignore it until the warm-n’-fuzzy conclusion, in the process draining the device of any meaning other than as a sign that both the actual and fictional Reed are incapable of assessing or dramatizing personal experiences except via the filter of low-budget character drama clichés.
- Red Envelope Entertainment
- 93 min
- Zackary Adler
- Reed Fish
- Jay Baruchel, Alexis Bledel, Schuyler Fisk, DJ Qualls, Katey Sagal, A.J. Cook, Chris Parnell
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