The Independent Movie Review

Mockumentary about the movie business? Okay, not original in any sense of the word, but putting Janeane Garofalo in a suit and spray-on tan is simply inspired.

The Independent is Jerry Stiller's show, starring him as Morty Fineman, a Roger Corman/Andy Sidaris-style filmmaker who makes lovingly crafted low-budget, borderline-exploitation films that the world largely dismisses as junk. The film follows Morty and daughter Paloma (Garofalo) as they try to revive Morty's sagging career and reflect on decades of schlocky work like Brothers Divided (about Siamese twins in Vietnam) and Foxy Chocolate Robot (about a foxy chocolate robot). The film uses present-day footage intercut with scenes ostensibly from Morty's body of work, all appropriate in graininess, streaks, and rotten acting quality. Real-world directors like Roger Corman and Ron Howard appear to offer commentary on Morty's oeuvre, all of whom declare him an underrated genius.

Films like this (including ...And God Spoke, which also just came out on DVD after a long hiatus in limbo) always tend to drag after a while as the joke wears thin. An endless supply of cameos from Andy Dick to Ben Stiller to a ton of porn-class actresses like Penelope Pumpkins helps the movie considerably, and an 80-minute running time keeps things light and lively.

Ultimately, of course, The Independent plays like a relatively standard entry into a used-up genre, though it has enough raw talent to elevate it above the usual mockufare. Check it out for a fun diversion when there's nothing on but reruns.

Morty makes a mess.


The Independent Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2000


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