Easiest description of this short film? A heist flick - involving an impossible amount of crazy people. The heist? Nothing so glamorous as a bank robbery, or down to the nitty-gritty like a hold up or casino job. The heist portrayed in this short film is the construction of an impossibly large condo building - smack dab in New York city. You can just imagine the legalities and paperwork involved with something like this - right? That's the thing here. Essentially, this is about sweeping all that legal stuff under the rug, and building the biggest and cheapest building possible. Cut corners, illegal work and all manors of dangerous - and money saving schemes would have to be involved. Absolutely. The end result? An ass-load of cash and recognition for the architect of this plan - Sy Phillis.
It all sounds like a fun story - and more or less, it actually is. Having a greedy, egotistical slum lord as the hero of this story, Sy Phillis, opens all kinds of doors for satire to force it's way in. As a matter of fact? All the main characters in this flick are exactly the opposite, of those who could make something like this happen in real life. Or a better term... those who should. The comedy in this flick is akin to an old "SCTV" episode and at it's heart, "The Odyssey Of The AOR" pokes fun at all manners of professionalism. As a pilot episode, there is loads of promise here. That however, doesn't mean everything is perfect - by any stretch.
The first thing I want to say here, is that I hated the speech bubbles. It may have sounded good on paper but in actual practice, it felt dumb and gimmicky - reminding me of the old VH1/MTV TV show "Pop-Up Video" to no end. Not only did the cartoon nature of the bubbles constantly drag me out of the show, but a lot of it was unneeded. The other visual element that kept ripping me out of Joshua Burdick's world, was the constant color changes between edits. Warm pink-orange skin, followed immediately by ghostly white skin when the angle changed. This was a constant issue through the entire episode. Faces, backgrounds, everything. It all could have been fixed with a simple hue adjustment during post production, or even better yet, a quick white balance for each angle change, when shooting. This, coupled with the hand-held camera style, made "The Odyssey Of The AOR" feel really rushed a lot of the time. And it was definitely noticed.
Other than that? This film uses background music through the majority of the screen time and yes, that makes the thirty five+ minutes feel a little longer - than it probably should. Music is meant to be used to compliment a scene, not completely take over. Unless of course, you are creating a musical. Not the case here.
All that aside? The acting was actually pretty good... in a corny kind of way. The over the top nature of all these characters really was amusing, and these characters were pulled off quite nicely. I couldn't help but chuckle more than a few times, at just how ridiculous these people really were. It takes talent to pull off characters such as these, in a way that isn't a complete turn off. Even more interesting? The troupe involved here, also made the less than stellar aspects of this film kind of work. The personalities matched the visual experience and the visual experience, in a round about way, synced up with the story. I can't write that everything worked, but as I wrote above, I did laugh a lot - and that's saying something... right?
When it's all said and done, anything that gets a response from the viewer - such as recurring laughter, has to be doing something right. In a lot of ways, not all mind you, "The Odyssey Of The AOR" manages to embrace it's technical faults and limitations to surprisingly good ends. It's definitely well above average, even when factoring in it's flaws. Simply put? You want a few laughs? Check this one out when you can. Laughter is almost guaranteed. As for this production as a potentially full scale future project? I have three words. Go for it. As I wrote above, the potential is here - as are all the pieces. A solid three stars. Made my morning.