Sisyphus had it easy compared to Scott Prendergast, the hapless sad-sack protagonist of Kabluey. What's a little boulder-rolling compared to the unenviable task of passing out fliers for a failing dot-com while standing in a lonesome field, wearing a blue costume that makes him look like a Peanuts character re-imagined as a creepy, featureless blue blob? Rarely has an independent film benefited so greatly from a single piece of costume design. In his blue-man getup, Prendergast is simultaneously a droll, understated walking sight gag and a strangely lyrical component of a hauntingly spare landscape.
Making the leap to feature films after several shorts, writer-director Prendergast plays his character as a directionless man-child who moves in with his sullen sister-in-law (Lisa Kudrow) to help look after her two monstrous children until his brother returns from an extended tour in Iraq. To help with the bills, Prendergast gets the aforementioned job as a costumed weirdo and quickly evolves from an aimless, overgrown child in a silly blue suit to a self-actualized, more assertive overgrown child in a silly blue suit.
Kabluey is in many ways an archetypal indie quirkfest about the meandering, surreal misadventures of a sad-eyed drifter and the kooky comic universe he inhabits. While lurking semi-inconspicuously in the costume at a party, Prendergast learns that his sister-in-law has been cheating on his brother with her sleazy boss (Jeffrey Dean Morgan); though the getup has no eyes or mouth, Prendergast is able to communicate volumes through body language alone. While the film's social-satire elements are flat and overly familiar, its dry absurdity is unmistakably Lynchian—or at the very least, Northfork-ian. Prendergast has a keen visual sense and a gift for offbeat gags, but it's ultimately all about the suit, which makes both the man-child and this affecting little sleeper. In costume and character, Prendergast is a little funny and more than a little sad. So is the film.