Friday, June 2, 2017

A cartoonist struggles with grief

Comedian Demetri Martin plays a New York-based cartoonist who makes a trip to LA in the new movie, Dean. Martin also directed this slender tale about a young man who's having difficulty coping with the recent loss of his mother. Martin mostly focuses on Dean, an illustrator whose journey to LA is prompted by a job offer from a "hot" new ad agency. Dean's bullshit meter is far too sensitive to fall for a ton of LA optimism, but he decides to hang around LA with his pal Eric (Rory Scovel). Dean soon meets an appealing young woman (Gillian Jacobs). He's smitten. Meanwhile, Dean's father (Kevin Kline) also attempts to put his life back together. In scenes that parallel what's happening in LA, Dean's New York father begins dating the real estate agent (Mary Steenburgen) he hires to sell the family home. Neither Kline's character nor Martin's Dean handles loss particularly well, but Dad seems to be doing a better job of it. He's more honest about his inability to move on. Martin shows us some of Dean's work, simple stick-figure drawings that are ... well ... simple stick-figure drawings. Mildly amusing and nicely acted by the supporting players, Dean nonetheless doesn't feel like a big-screen breakthrough for Martin, who doesn't dig deeply enough into the movie's most interesting element: undigested grief.

No comments: