Movie Review: Multiple Sarcasms (2010)

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Gabriel Richmond (Timothy Hutton) is the type of man who loves the idea of being alone when someone else is sharing the room with him and longs for the company of another when he's all by himself.

As such, he's fond of sneaking off to the movie theatre during a typical work day where he leaves two hours of his life shorter and filled with unexpected inspiration to be creative.

And in the new independent offering Multiple Sarcasms, after the architect with only one seriously committed and flirtatious client is fired, Gabriel grows even more serious than ever to pour out the contents of the play that's been brewing inside his mind onto typewritten pages in his apartment's bathroom/office.

Assisted in his quest by a small voice tape recorder purchased by his lifelong best friend (Mira Sorvino), the naturally narcissistic Gabriel – who oddly goes by the nickname of Zoom – becomes even more self-centered as Brooks Branch's feature filmmaking debut Multiple Sarcasms continues, making the audience feel as similarly torn as our lead in whether or not we actually want to spend time with him or we'd be happier minus Gabe on our own.

To the filmmaker's credit, he manages to nicely capture the spirit of New York in '79 as the punk era begins to give way to the yuppie Reagan years, which is embodied in the female characters of the free spirited best friend and “the schmoozing wife” (actually described as thus and played by Dana Delany).

In fact, Sorvino is particularly good in this reunion with her Beautiful Girls co-star Hutton. And furthermore, since Sarcasms is a film wherein the women – even when they're shortchanged by Branch and must simply fawn over or yell at Hutton – end up serving as the most fascinating characters in a slightly tired, predictable piece, it's to the filmmaker's credit that he managed to cast them all so well as they naturally inhabit their roles beautifully.

Yet, this being said, what remains is the problem of the otherwise talented Hutton in a role that's not exactly likable or – as a second runner up for not all characters need to be – altogether that interesting.

With that in mind, we begin growing weary of this intellectual navel-gazing white guy stuck in a rut plot-line only one act into the movie and way before it continues on into its third predictable and overly Woody Allen-esque act where Gabriel's autobiographical play ends up solving problems that the film can't solve on its own.

All in all, it's a bit of a mess yet a lovingly made and extremely well-acted one that suffers from a serious affability problem not to mention the feeling that – Sorvino's great presence aside – we've seen this movie about struggling writers who try to turn their lives into art way too many times before except done much better in the level of a work like Wonder Boys.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I attended a press screening of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.