Good drama, the saying goes, places ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances. Not so with “Supporting Characters.” The film is like trailing two random people on the city streets to get scoop on their private lives, and discovering their day-to-day is more banal than yours.
This low-budget Manhattan-based comedy follows best buds and film editing team Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe) as they cut together a low-budget, Manhattan-based comedy. It aims to put the spotlight on the unsung heroes of filmmaking: the editors. But the truth is, watching editors edit is a mighty dull time.
Between arguing about whether or not to cut the scene with Rodney the Doorman, Darryl debates proposing to his pseudo-girlfriend Liana (Melonie Diaz), and Nick contemplates cheating on his fiancée with the film-within-the-film’s man-hungry lead actor, Jamie (Arielle Kebbel).
At least the film’s actual supporting characters are more interesting than the leads. The flirtatious Jamie, has some serious issues with needing male validation. A deeper look at the childish fits and mysterious disappearances of the director, Adrian (Kevin Corrigan), could have set up some kooky scenarios.
Instead, we’re stuck with lead editor Nick. As portrayed by Karpovsky, Nick has all the charisma of a three-toed sloth. He talks down to Darryl like a pet, he can’t be bothered to remember Darryl’s girlfriend’s name, and introduces him as “D-Rag” (or some such nonsense) to associates just because Darryl is black. Darryl must be desperate for money to work with this self-righteous ingrate. Yet the filmmakers clearly expect us to identify with Nick’s beleaguered foibles.
Spoiler alert: Nick takes the moral high ground and doesn’t cheat with the actress. Desperately needed drama avoided, although we’re supposed to applaud the decision. Nick’s fiancée unexpectedly dumps him anyway, for no explained reason. I assume she finally realized her hubbie-to-be is an insufferable louse.
Darryl is written as a generically bumbling sidekick in the vein of Tracy Morgan on “30 Rock.” Thankfully, the bountiful charm of actor Lowe (who also co-wrote) injects laugh-out-loud panache into a pace intent on mundanity. It’s difficult to judge the acting on all counts, however—the script’s complete lack of subtext offers no dramatic stakes to stretch actor skill. Like Lowe, the cast works purely on personal gumption.
When the most memorable moment is the freeze-framed shit-eating grin of the soon-to-be-edited-out Rodney the Doorman, one suspects this story of editors should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Critic’s Score: C
Directed by Daniel Schechter
Casting by Stephanie Holbrook
Starring Alex Karpovsky, Tarik Lowe, Arielle Kebbel, Kevin Corrigan