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Baghead

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass

In their indie sensation The Puffy Chair, writer/directors Mark and Jay Duplass used the retrieval of a piece of furniture to explore the relationship between a close-knit trio. Their studio follow-up represents something both fresh and familiar. Not … see full wiki

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1 review about Baghead

Mumblecore slacker horror-comedy

  • Jul 10, 2009
Rating:
+3
A hilarious and scary slacker comedy about four friends who go to a cabin to write a realistic low-budget horror screenplay, and find that reality can be very frightening. This was a Sundance favorite a couple of years ago, where I saw it the first time. It got mixed reviews when I brought it to my cinema program on Halloween - and, with some exceptions, my sense was cinephiles and younger folks seemed to love it, but those over 40 or those who value entertainment over unique and interesting approaches to filmmaking, tended to be underwhelmed. I found it to be very funny and entertaining, and subtly clever; it was probably my favorite American feature film at Sundance 2008.

Clearly, some won't get it. Others may get it and just not like it. Jay and Mark Duplass belong to a small but admirable group of filmmakers who make a virtue of do-it-yourself style filmmaking about ordinary 20 somethings to whom nothing much remarkable ever happens. They face ordinary problems, they hesitate, they don't know how to express their feelings, they are insecure, they mumble. They are just like most of us, and their lives are not all that much more interesting. Still, when done right their decisions and the consequences can be fascinating, when the seemingly simple and mundane moments start to add up to something, indefinable. For the most part I think this one gets it right.

The thing is, this kind of film seems not at all to lend itself to "genre" filmmaking: sci-fi, horror, Westerns, and the like. But Jay and Mark try to pull it off here, and manage to pull off something that is both funny and frightening.

The film begins with a parody (not all that far off) of the artsy student film festival, and makes clear that's not what they're working for here. At bottom this is a loser love story, a classic comedy genre, that toys with becoming a "young horny folks in a cabin in the woods" slasher flick, while staying true to the mumblecore do-it-yourself style of films like the Duplass's The Puffy Chair and Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs. It's a lot of fun and very funny, for some, but if you have no sympathy for those kinds of films you aren't likely to appreciate this one.

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