Friday, March 21, 2014

The Color Wheel. A-

The way it insists on defining its characters as complete asses, traverses across broad ranges of comedy with ease, and never stops in some way being funny, makes The Color Wheel easily one of the best and boldest comedies in years. Writer/director/star Alex Ross Perry, taking the Linklater approach of writing a script with one of your actors, spending painstaking hours on rehearsals, and then shooting scenes of incessant dialogue as if they were improvised but in reality aren't, has a great way of making jokes out of real human behavior and traditional contrived comic set-ups. In one scene, Colin (Perry) and his sister JR (the wonderful Carlen Altman) visit her professor boyfriend, who in the process of breaking off their relationship proves to be both a snob and an oblivious jerk. Perry is laughing at him because he's such an emblem of this type of human being, and he makes it doubly funny by the fact that JR essentially deserves it. Then in another scene the siblings visit a small hotel and are forced to pretend to be spouses because the religious fanatic owner will only let married couples share a single-bed room. It's an hilarious scene in a different type of way: in its precise comic structuring (it could work as a great skit all on its own) it recalls classic Hollywood comic arrangements (particularly Preston Sturges) and perfectly represents Perry's broad ranges. By the end of the movie viewers may be disturbed or uncomfortable, but when one considers Perry's courageous intentions, they should really feel beguiled. 

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