Middle Man Movie Review
The difference between comedy and murder is a fine one as exemplified in the offbeat and strangely alluring Middle Man, in which an extremely unfunny accountant who wants to be a comedian discovers that people only find him funny when he’s talking about the murders that he may or may have not committed with the assistance of a mysterious hitchhiker.
Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation) turns in a deliciously off-kilter performance and writer/director Ned Crowley revels in the oddly sane insanity of his production. The two work in conjunction with one another, Crowley adding layer upon layer to his comedic thriller as each scene passes and O’Heir matching his demands at every step, escalating his initially low-energy character to insane levels.
Middle Man also features a solid supporting cast, including Andrew J. West as the psychotic Hitch and Anne Dudek as potential love interest and waitress who gets caught in the middle of the murderous acts that unfold.
The movie isn’t quite as funny as it probably could have been, or as smart/elaborate as the Coen brothers movies it clearly wants to mimic, but Middle Man is a maniacally fun and murderously sharp comedic thriller. While not for everyone--it’s a little too quirky for mainstream audiences--Middle Man is one of the more entertaining movies to come out of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.