Martin & Orloff

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Martin & Orloff

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Since forming in the mid-'90s, Upright Citizens Brigade has served as a semi-secret font of comedy greatness, creating an unevenly brilliant TV show, feeding its talent into films, The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and conducting classes to ensure that its thoughtful, Del Close-inspired long-form improv comedy will continue to be an influence for years to come. Someday, it might even produce a great movie. Sadly, in spite of some inspired moments, Martin & Orloff isn't quite it. Written by UCB tent poles Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts with Katie Roberts, the film stars Walsh and Ian Roberts as, respectively, an unconventional psychiatrist and an ad-industry burnout recovering from a suicide attempt. Deemed "the best funny-character man in the business" by boss Matt Besser, Roberts seems in danger of losing his mind almost from the moment he returns to a job that requires him to produce food-shaped mascot costumes for a demanding Chinese-food distributor. Putting safety last, the client demands that the costumes have no eyeholes to remind customers of the human inside. ("Promotes cannibalism.") At first, Walsh seems like an unhelpful shrink, as he sends Roberts into an After Hours-like world of New York eccentrics, played by UCB cast members and friends, including David Cross, Andy Richter, and Amy Poehler. The best moments capture what UCB does best: putting an absurd spin on the everyday, as in a visit to a snooty dinner theater for a production of The Mint Juleps Club (starring Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Dratch, and Tina Fey as over-the-top Southern belles). These moments, sprinkled like candy in trail mix, make Martin & Orloff worth a look, but the film too often gets bogged down by a rhythmless pace and an overabundance of the kind of wacky physical business better left to experts in a dumber brand of comedy.

Filed Under: Film

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