Odd Brodsky, an independent comedy from writer-director Cindy Baer (working with co-writer Matthew Irving), is a little movie overstuffed with big-hearted sitcom laughs. It's about quirky Audrey "Aud" Brodsky and a group of equally quirky supporting characters who mug, muddle through, go manic and make love as they chase Hollywood success.
The movie begins with the story of Audrey's childhood and her attempts -- despite any talent -- to dance, play the violin and act. Ilana Klusky, who plays the 9-ish Audrey, is a sweet mix of spunk and hopefulness.
Her schoolmates may call her "Odd," but she is a star to her mother (sweetly sympathetic Jesse Meriwether). Mom confides to Audrey's clueless dad (a deadpan John Alton) that they must be supportive so that Audrey grows up to "get a good responsible job, like an administrative assistant or an accountant." After mom tragically dies, Audrey, misreading the cues as usual, vows to become a successful actress and fulfill her mother's dream for her.
Cut to Audrey, 10 years later, in Hollywood, and a successful (wait for it....) administrative assistant.
What follows is Audrey's journey to discover her place in the insane world of show business. Hilarious scenes skewer Hollywood life: a women's support circle, an off-off-off-off-off-Broadway play, "B" jobs at children's parties and corporate offices.
That women's support group is called "The Angels." Even though the women (stressed-to-the-max Elana Krausz, dreamer Cindy Baer, buttoned-down Christina Marie Moses, and dim-bulb Leigh Sill Forrest) are too self-absorbed to offer much support, their scenes provide a Greek chorus of fun and move the plot along.
Tegan Ashton Cohan gives us an Audrey to identify with and to root for. She gets extra credit for playing an actress character who does not have acting talent. Not easy. Without Mom to advise her, and with her support group offering mostly noise, Audrey has to make it up as she goes along. I believed it. As Audrey suffers through bad breaks in business and love, so did I.
That bad love break is a disastrous hookup with Spuds, her spaced-out, dumbbell roommate, well-played by Scotty Dickert on the edge of over-the-top. Spuds is a great character. The film lights up every time he appears, counseling Audrey on the couch or taking her out on some near-disastrous adventures.
Fortunately, the reliable boring guy -- a rooted Matthew Kevin Anderson -- is around to save the day. Anderson's character, known only as "Camera One," is the nice guy who hangs around long enough for true love to take root.
This is a low-budget independent comedy, but you wouldn't know it from the beautifully-shot result. Top-shelf talents were involved all around. Seasoned actors (like Jim Hanks) in supporting roles provide gravitas and balance to some of the lightweight silliness going on.
Inventive direction and writing by Cindy Baer. Well-worth a rental if you, too, want to follow your dreams and laugh away the tears.