Splinterheads

Splinterheads

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Despite positioning itself as a Napoleon Dynamite-style comedy about a spazzy social retard, Splinterheads seems to have misplaced most of its jokes. Brant Sersen’s film dutifully adheres to outcast-makes-good formula with its story of Justin (Thomas Middleditch), a doofus living at home with his widowed mom (Lea Thompson) and working alongside his crude landscaper best friend Wayne (Jason Rogel). After being scammed by a hot tattooed blonde named, ahem, Galaxy (Rachael Taylor) at the local gas station, Justin finds himself—in a typical bit of fantasy nonsense—knee-deep in romance with the sexy grifter. It turns out that Galaxy works at the local fair, though she isn’t just an ordinary carny but, rather, a hustler known as a splinterhead, albeit one who has plenty of time to ditch work and go geocaching, which is a super-cool GPS treasure hunting game. Aside from trying to mainstream the terms “splinterhead” and “geocaching,” Sersen’s directorial debut has no purpose, following a narrative template so moldy that its employment would only be excusable if some humor were present. Regrettably, aside from two early scenes with a wacko carnival magician known as the Amazing Steve (Jason Mantzoukas) and his equally weird assistant/lover Wyoming (Lennon Parham), there isn’t a single element that warrants so much as a pity smile. Middleditch in particular seems unsure of how to play this material, with his character’s awkwardness routinely dialed down to the point of nonexistence in an effort to facilitate a relationship between Justin and Galaxy that lacks chemistry and plausibility. From a 116-year-old grandpa offering Justin condoms, to Justin wearing wet see-through boxers and Christopher McDonald’s cop pining for Justin’s mother, Splinterheads piles on scenes and subplots that barely have a beginning, middle, or end, much less a pulse. Though when it comes to being unfunny, nothing quite tops Sersen giving more screen time to a host of derogatory comments about Asians than to The Wire alum par excellence Frankie Faison.

Buy
DVD
Distributor
Paladin
Runtime
94 min
Rating
NR
Year
2009
Director
Brant Sersen
Screenwriter
Brant Sersen
Cast
Thomas middleditch, Rachael Taylor, Lea Thompson, Christopher McDonald, Dean Winters, Frankie Faison, Jason Mantzoukas, Lennon Parham, Jason Rogel