Comedy, Science Fiction
Man oh man. The short and sweet of it all? "Nothing Really Happens" is one F'd up movie! Jumping from funny to creepy, to intellectual, wacky and even gross sometimes... I loved every minute of it! It's rare for an indie flick to capture and hold my attention the way this film did - and the best part of it all? I don't even fully understand why - except to chalk it up to the crazy nature of this production. You read that correctly. Justin Petty's movie is just so damn crazy, it latches onto you like a crazy neighbor with a poppy seed bagel. If my previous sentence makes any sense to you, perhaps you'll understand a lot more of this film than I did at first. If however, it seems like I just wrote down some random words... that's pretty much the feeling I had while watching this movie most of the time. I also happen to think that it's strange nature is why it's so hard to tear your eyes away. And in case you're wondering? Yes... it's all put together so damn well.
Now... there is a story here. I think I have the basics, but may have to watch again to fully grasp things. Yes ladies and gents, this is a film worth buying just so you can watch it more than once. You'll want to. But here goes a spoiler free description. Dave is the living example of every day life. He gets up. Goes through his morning routine and goes to work at his mattress store, where he deals with more of the same. Day in. Day out. His home life with his wife has also become routine - and the two feel more like roommates than husband and wife. Many people will relate to these aspects of the story I'm sure, and it's a great way to ground such an unusual film - with the seemingly normal life of the every-man/woman.
It's Dave's possible unhinging that allows this movie to be weird - and still follow a basic plot arc. Normal day to day life, when broken down and inspected, is enough to make anyone loose their marbles. But is Dave going insane? Or is there more going on? The off-the-wall characters and Dave himself, make it hard to tell but everything comes down to one thing. Is this film entertaining enough to bother with? Obviously, if you ask me, the answer is yes. The best way to describe this movie? An experimental film with a grand look and feel. This movie doesn't look micro budget, and definitely doesn't look experimental. The experimental element is in the script. It's not an excuse for a sub-par production. But I did gather one thing from this film. It's about the monotony of life. It's about friends trying to help - no matter the outcome or cost... and it's about old lady poop. Old lady poop with flags.
I noticed lots of influences when watching this. Maybe they're in my head, or maybe not. Guess that will be for you, the viewer to decide. But I had everything from "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" straight through to "Napoleon Dynamite" come to mind, as possible inspirations for parts of this film. But don't get me wrong, "Nothing Really Happens" is it's own beast. Unique as unique can be. No question.
The flick itself looks and sounds large. If you didn't know any better, this could have been a heavily budgeted studio production. A lot of care went into giving this movie a slick look. No iPhone pointing camera man here. Visuals aside, it's use of audio and at times, unusual editing techniques, that really drove home the strange nature of the film.
And yes... we're back to that. The strange nature of this movie. I honestly think that it's the strange that makes this movie so hard to ignore. Almost as if you're being hypnotized into watching. That would sure lend itself well to the plot if it were true. I think that if "Nothing Really Happens" tried to be more normal, it wouldn't have been half as good. Everything just seems to fit together into this crazy mess of imagery and sounds. As for the acting itself? Considering the nature of the characters, it's really hard to discuss... so I'll just say spot on - in a weird kind of way that works for this movie.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe this film. Hard to talk about without spoilers... and even if this write-up did contain spoilers, I'm not sure they would make total sense unless you had already watched it. You need to see this film to get it even a little - but the title of this movie is a good place to look for clues. For being unconventional and ridiculously interesting, "Nothing Really Happens" easily earns it's stars - and is well worth checking out. In my humble opinion.