'Reset': Film Review
Paul Bojack's existential comedy/drama concerns a man who returns to his hometown without informing his friends or family.
"There's something subversive about being back home and not telling your family," explains the protagonist of Paul Bojack's feature about a 30-year-old writer on a vague sort of existential journey. That it involves kinky sexual liaisons with women both young and old is perhaps the main exploitative selling point of this elliptical comedy/drama that ultimately feels as aimless as its central character's wanderings.
Floyd (Edward Deraney), delivering enough voiceover narration to fuel a dozen film noir thrillers, apparently wants to explore familiar terrain from an unfamiliar angle, for reasons that are never made quite clear other than as a vague attempt at reinvention.
This inevitably involves hanging out at a lot of seedy bars, where he meets new people, including best friends Hugh (Reggie Watkins) and Robert (Doug Penikas) who limit their romantic hookups to blonde and Asian women, respectively. This results in some mildly amusing moments, such as the priceless look of irritation on Hugh's face when his latest conquest rejects his suggestion that she dye her hair.
More provocatively, Floyd is intent on alternating between frequenting younger and older prostitutes — "I can afford it, I've saved up," he informs us—which hints at all sorts of psychological issues. This too results in some pungent moments, such as when he rejects the friendly hooker who shows up at his seedy hotel room because she's only 45 years old instead of the advertised 55.
Less interesting scenes introduce us to Floyd's family with whom he's mostly estranged, including his financially struggling father (David Ross Paterson), racially prejudiced mother (Melinda DeKay) and sister (Sarah Chaney), who has a new boyfriend (David Crane).
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Interspersed with elliptical title cards and lengthy descriptions by Floyd of various objects he encounters, Reset never manages to achieve the poetic profundity to which it obviously aspires, with Deraney lacking the charisma necessary to make us care about his character's spiritual quest, which apparently manifests itself in having anonymous sex with as many women as possible.
Production: Broken Lack Productions
Cast: Edward Deraney, Reggie Watkins, Doug Penikas, Melinda DeKay, Sarah Chaney, David Ross Patterson, David Crane
Director/screenwriter: Paul Bojack
Producers: Henry LeBlanc, Om Mourya
Director of photography: Kimby Caplan
Editors: Kevin Haberer, Jacob Mendel, Paul Bojack
Composer: Cullan Keith Shewfelt
Not rated, 79 minutes