‘Linoleum’ Review: Pliable Dreams – Los Angeles Times
A stand-up comedian, Jim Gaffigan is known for gently self-deprecating, mostly family-friendly jokes about everyday life and food. But as an actor — and particularly in the films and TV series in which he’s starred — Gaffigan seems drawn to thoughtfully offbeat projects like his new film Linoleum, a minor-key domestic drama that’s gradually turned into something through his scholarship greater is transformed. fictional elements.
Gaffigan plays dual roles: Cameron Edwin, a kind-hearted TV presenter whose career and family life have been in slow decline for years; and Kent Armstrong, a more successful but much icier man, who moves across the street from Cam. When an old piece of space junk falls from orbit into the Edwins’ backyard, Cam decides to rekindle his old dream of becoming an astronaut by converting the machinery into a rocket capable of defying Earth’s gravity. As he tinkers, he discovers that time and space are collapsing in his immediate vicinity.
Writer-director Colin West frequently shifts the focus away from Cam to cover what’s going on with two of his loved ones: Erin (Rhea Seehorn), his frustrated wife who has filed for divorce and a lucrative job offer in her field aviation weighs; and Nora (Katelyn Nacon), her brilliant, iconoclastic teenage daughter, who feels an instant connection when she meets Kent’s charming nerdy son, Marc (Gabriel Rush).
At first glance, these digressions seem like a miscalculation on the part of West. The quasi-romance between Nora and Marc is sweet but understated and less interesting than the interactions between Cam and Nora (who finds her father ridiculous but lovable) and Cam and Marc (who hang out at the Edwin house to both learn about science talk as well as escape with them from his exhaustingly demanding father). As for Erin, her character comes off as one of the worst dramatic clichés at the beginning of the film: the ungrateful, nagging spouse. It’s a waste of Seehorn’s talents – again at first.
But in the second half of “Linoleum,” the scattered bits and pieces of the story come together, tied in part by old clips from Cam’s television series that show him sharing his enthusiasm for the mysteries of the universe — sometimes with Erin as his own zealous co-host . Past and present merge as the Edwins try to figure out where everything went wrong in their marriage and their dreams.
West has a lot on his mind with this film; and ultimately less concerned with explaining everything that happens on screen than with freely associating about the complicated, lifelong relationship between children and their parents. But Gaffigan’s Everyman presence and seeker soul make him a great vessel for big ideas. He can make an ordinary guy trying to become an amateur astronaut look poignant and not silly. As reality bends around Cam, he looks more impressed than scared. His astonishment becomes ours.
Duration: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Play: Begins February 24, Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2023-02-23/review-linoleum-jim-gaffigan ‘Linoleum’ Review: Pliable Dreams – Los Angeles Times