Watching a losing team is enough to make anyone crazy. It is even worse when it is your son’s little league team and you have to deal with every kind of crazy parent. That is the driving force behind comedian Jeff Garlin’s latest film Dealin’ with Idiots released last week by IFC.
The film follows Garlin’s character Max Morris, a mildly famous comedian living in suburban Los Angeles who has been attending his son’s little league games. After a few minutes it becomes clear that the film itself isn’t about the children but instead about the crazy parents and what makes them tick. “It’s a combination of real life experiences, which I did not enjoy, and my imagination mostly,” Garlin told Press Pass LA in an exclusive interview.
Fascinated by the parents, Morris has the idea to begin research on a comedy film about them. It is at this point where things become very meta and the film almost loops in on itself, a strange and unintended consequence of the narrative structure. “I never do anything intentionally, except if I am doing something that makes me laugh,” explains Garlin. The results are not only funny but usually dead on interpretations of middle-class suburban parents.
With a cast that includes Bob Odenkirk, Gina Gershon, Fred Wilard and J.B. Smoove the comedic styles are constantly changing from scene to scene. This allows the movie to stay fresh despite the lack of a clear driving force throughout the film. Odenkirk gives a standout performance as Coach Jimbo, a man with some serious trust issues and the manager of a local copy store. The set-up itself is very reminiscent of Garlin’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and, if not for the different character names, this could almost be a spin-off.
Although barely given enough attention throughout the film there are a few very touching moments between Garlin and a younger version of his father played by Timothy Olyphant. Taking place entirely in his head, the scenes give Garlin a chance to really let loose with commentary rather than simply stand by and watch as he does throughout the bulk of the film. “My father died shortly before filming. Timothy’s character in the movie was inspired by my real father, who I often have chats with in that same way,” Garlin notes.
The film itself seems geared toward a very niche audience and that might work against it, even as a comedy. Garlin is, as always, a talented comedian and actor who seems right on the cusp of a truly genius film that will let him shine. This film may not be a homerun but home plate is in view.
Release date, July 12th. Watch the trailer.