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Review: The Toe Tactic

The film’s world is so hermetically sealed that it seems to have been intended only for writer-director Emily Hubley’s pleasure.

The Toe Tactic
Photo: SundanceTV

Her obnoxious name is Mona Peek (Lily Rabe), and when she looks into mirrors she obnoxiously interacts with an animated version of herself, and when the obnoxiously titled Temptation Agency calls to give her work, it is to creatively—which is to say obnoxiously—extrapolate on random words like “illegible” scrawled on pieces of paper by an African-American woman with an obnoxious desire to snap Polaroid pictures and who lives in a building with an elevator man (Daniel London) whose name is, how fucking obnoxious, Elevator Man! Mona’s non-adventures, from her non-romance with Elevator Man to her non-friendship with a massage therapist whose son finds Mona’s wallet, are all splattered with flights of animated whimsy that blend Mona’s feminine anxiety with her daddy issues. “Some things have a mind of their own,” someone (or some thing) says at one point, possibly one of the narrating animated playing cards, extensions of some childhood game Mona used to play with her deceased father that recalls tic-tac-toe, only instead of Xs and Os you get to fill the grid with whatever the moment calls for—like, say, smiley faces, squiggly lines, horse dongs, engorged vaginas, guns to the head, and exit signs. And you thought Miranda July was twee. So acutely specific is Mona’s mode of cocooning that you don’t doubt she’s been made in the image of writer-director Emily Hubley, daughter of legendary animators John and Faith Hubley. Definitely one-of-a-kind, Toe Tactic’s world is so hermetically sealed, and its mix of live-action and animation so cagily conceived, that it seems to have been intended only for Hubley’s pleasure.

Cast: Lily Rabe, Daniel London, Jane Lynch, Andrea Martin, Sean J. Moran, Novella Nelson, Mary Kay Place, John Sayles, Marian Seldes, Eli Wallach, Sakina Jaffrey, Xander Berkely, Don Byron, Kevin Corrigan, David Cross Director: Emily Hubley Screenwriter: Emily Hubley Running Time: 83 min Rating: NR Year: 2007 Buy: Video

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