A mash-up between The Odd Couple and 2011’s Bernie
THE MIMIC (2021)
Thomas Mazziotti returns to the world of film after a 23 year hiatus with The Mimic, bringing audiences into the world of a sociopath with a comedic twist. The jaded worldview of the protagonist, The Narrator, combined with the perceived sociopathic tendencies of The Kid feels like a mash-up between The Odd Couple and 2011’s Bernie. While the film tries to bring the laughs, it’s not nearly as funny as it wants to be, but being embedded in the thinking-man’s-buddy-comedy niche allows for some wiggle room.
With frequent breaking of the fourth wall and a peppering of POV shots, viewers are quickly brought into the world of The Narrator and his frenemy, The Kid. Mazziotti deserves credit for making what could be a thin script a pleasant viewing experience that harkens back to 1930s comedies via a constant stream of fast-paced dialogue; however, the techniques of the 30s combined with sometimes jarring cuts makes The Mimic feel longer than its 81 minute run time.
Caricaturing the buddy comedies that ran rampant in the comedy genre circa the 2000s, The Mimic shows The Narrator’s ever growing obsession with the idea that The Kid is a sociopath while also allowing a weak camaraderie to form between the characters. Their relationship is built on love and hate, and at times feels all-consuming for both parties. The Mimic’s happy but thinly ambiguous ending fits the tone of the film; you’re left to draw your own conclusions, and it wouldn’t work any other way.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
For a film that relies so heavily on rapid-fire dialogue, you would think there would be more memorable lines, but because the viewer is privy to 81 minutes of conversations, it’s hard to pinpoint anything as standing out. The Narrator and The Kid tend to speak in a series of quips, meaning that any gems tend to get buried in a sea of conversation.
The real standout of the film is Jake Robinson, whose squeaky clean but smug appearance and swift comedic timing makes The Kid someone you’ll love to hate. Thomas Sadoski gives an admirable performance as The Narrator, allowing viewers to instantly connect with a man who feels like he’s going mad due to the painfully obvious sociopathic behavior of The Kid. Gina Gershon, Jessica Walter, Marilu Henner and Didi Conn’s cameos may feel underutilized, but the focus on The Narrator and The Kid’s all-encompassing relationship doesn’t allow for anyone in their lives to receive adequate attention.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The Mimic is set somewhere in New York state, seemingly not far from the New Jersey border. It’s refreshing to see a film that doesn’t take place in NYC, and the film showcases the beauty of New York’s forests well. Any special effects feel a little cheesy, but in the context of the film, these scenes don’t necessarily detract like they do in films with a reliance on special effects (side eyes Humanity Bureau).
The homes of The Kid and The Narrator are especially well designed, and reflect exactly how you’d expect them to look. One scene of note takes place in The Kid’s home office, where he’s expounding upon his love of Bollywood films with a poster from 1939’s Pukar hanging on the wall. Little easter eggs like this make the viewer want to watch twice.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The sound design fits the film. Nothing will pull you out of the world of The Narrator and The Kid, which is a welcome relief from the buddy comedy reliance of loud mood music so you KNOW it’s funny. The film’s score relies predominantly on what can only be described as Zooey-Deschanel-esque quirky tunes, but they fit the film’s tone.
As stated before, the film thinks it's funnier than it truly is, but this mindset doesn’t make for an unenjoyable viewing experience; its smugness doesn’t equate to tediousness. The ending feels a little forced, but it surprisingly works. What The Mimic does best is making the viewers think about how their perceptions influence their relationships, and we probably need more of that in 2021.