A showcase film for star Jenna Mattison, written and produced by Jenna Mattison, Fish Without A Bicycle opens with Jenna Mattison talking about herself as she stares into a video camera. As the film's one truly effective moment, the scene instantly establishes the correct mood: This vanity project belongs to an audience of one.
Mattison's wide, frequently deployed grin is reminiscent of Julia Roberts, but without the charisma; as the film opens, she shares a home with Brad Rowe, who displays a corresponding similarity to Brad Pitt. Breaking up what the sight-impaired might mistake for a superstar pairing, Mattison splits with Rowe when she lands a part in a new play and starts sleeping with director Bryan Callen, whom the film makes clear from the start will be playing the part of the asshole. The nice-guy slot is reserved for former Beverly Hills 90210 heartthrob Brian Austin Green, who dropped the "Austin" before picking up the camera to direct Fish Without A Bicycle—which he does without much distinction.
Filling out the wild-card slot is Mattison's occasional roommate Jennifer Blanc, who justifies Mattison's man-hopping ways thusly: "You've eaten brie your whole life. Sure, it's a mild and tasty cheese, but how do you know it's your favorite until you try gouda… or spicy pepper jack?" Had she thrown in a flavor of cheese called "sexually experimental best friend with an undisguised crush on you," she would have saved the film a lot of time. But saving time ranks as low on Fish's concerns as factual accuracy. In one scene, a character attributes the "fish without a bicycle" quote to Bono. In several others, it flashes back to depict events Mattison has already described. Somewhere between the trying-on-clothes montage and her one-sided conversation with her dead mother, Mattison spends time with homeless lady Edie McClurg, who advises, "Sometimes you gotta be lost before you can find your way." What flavor of cheese is that?