The Good: Decent cast, Interesting setting
The Bad: Mediocre (as best) performances, Predictable plot developments, Confused character/plot elements
The Basics: Needlessly complicated by being a movie within the movie, I’m Reed Fish awkwardly captures a banal small town romantic situation poorly.
When it comes to independent films, I have discovered that I like little films that are at least trying to be professional, clever, and interesting. I am not, as it turns out, much of a fan of small films that are trying to be small. I get trying to appeal to a niche audience, but sometimes there are little films that don’t even seem to be aiming for a certain niche, they are just small and not trying to say or do anything particularly new. As Gilmore Girls (reviewed here!) wound down, Alexis Bledel seemed determined to take film projects that were small or underperformed, like Post Grad (reviewed here!). One of those projects was I’m Reed Fish.
I’m Reed Fish is one of those rare independent films that I was not grabbed by where it plodded along until it twisted in uninspired ways and left me largely unsatisfied. I like complications in film, but I’m Reed Fish is not clever in the way it complicates itself. Instead, it is unfortunately clumsy in the way it twists. Halfway through the movie, I’m Reed Fish becomes a movie within the movie and the ultimate resolution is something jumbled. After a long period of not actually caring about the characters, suddenly seeing the protagonist face-to-face with the subject of his film did not resonate in any meaningful way or make me more engaged by the characters.
Reed Fish is a local radio personality in the tiny town of Mud Meadows, where he has lived in something of a rut. Living in the shadow of his father’s legacy – essentially doing the same thing – Reed Fish is engaged to the woman of his dreams, Kate, who is studying to be a lawyer and is the darling of Mud Meadows. With his best friend, Andrew, preparing to marry his high school sweetheart, Reed Fish seems to have it all. But, when Jill, a young woman Reed has held a torch for, returns to Mud Meadows, he finds himself somewhat strained in his relationship with Kate.
After Jill and Reed hang out, Reed kisses her and the resulting fall-out finds Reed and Kate estranged from one another. Because Kate is beloved by everyone in Mud Meadows, Reed quickly becomes a pariah and the stress of that pushes Reed to neglect his work and distance himself from the townspeople.
The characters in I’m Reed Fish are almost entirely overshadowed by the setting. Mud Meadows might not be as intriguing a location as Stars Hollow, but it is a pretty distinct place. Everyone listens to Reed Fish’s show and he is able to make movies locally based on his limited celebrity. Of course, all of the young women look Hollywood beautiful and the quirkiest character is Reed’s karate-performing friend, Andrew (played by DJ Qualls). Beyond that, none of the characters are in any way extraordinary. In fact, Schuyler Fisk’s role of Jill in entirely unintriguing. Her whole part seems to be a thinly veiled excuse to get the singer-actress on screen singing.
The role of Reed Fish is not one of the more impressive roles of Jay Baruchel’s. He is once again playing the thin, awkward outsider who is struggling to live up to his potential. Frankly, the character he is playing is not very engaging and his performance stretches him in no recognizable ways. Similarly, Alexis Bledel is barely more than a pretty face without presenting any of her quirky or emotionally impressive range.
While usually I try to go more in depth with a film review, I can’t muster up the enthusiasm for I’m Reed Fish. I’m Reed Fish is boring, says nothing new and uses its performers in a mediocre fashion to do so, leaving me with very little to say.
For other works with Jay Baruchel, please visit my reviews of:
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
How To Train Your Dragon
She's Out Of My League
Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist
Million Dollar Baby
For other movie reviews, please visit my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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