Mazziotti, who wrote and directed “The Mimic,” bases the film on real events, but it’s hard to find any kernel of truth beyond the idea of befriending a sociopath. By spending the execution time with the two characters, it’s clear that the two are nasty to be around. Maybe they are both sociopaths? Sadoski’s Narrator is a smug asshole who calls women who drink rosé “bitches” and brags to the Kid about telling his wife she could do better than her husband. Conversely, Robinson plays his character with a sort of wide-eyed gaze that’s meant to feel both devious and innocent. He basically played like a blank slate, ignoring many aspects of the world around him. He’s the racket wall that the Narrator throws his banter against in an attempted semi-vicious comedy relationship. Although ambitious, it doesn’t quite work. Zingers don’t always sting; the punchlines are for a one-note “hah” in a comedy club that sounds like “I got what you want, but that’s not enough for a polite laugh.” Many lines of dialogue follow the “I know you are but what am I?” logical, because the Kid “imitates” the Narrator’s combative arguments with his own. These become less rewarding as the verbal fights continue until there is a breakthrough.
As well as playing the most unconvincing journalist ever portrayed in a movie, the Narrator is, of course, a screenwriter himself. This is another in a series of little funny pieces. In addition to the uninspired jokes and occasional sexist lines, Mazziotti’s script makes sure to define and then incorporate the movie “Gaslight” into the plot as well as continue an ongoing pun with a box of Febreze and the words “perfumes” and “sens. In one of the more bewildering choices, “The Mimic” departs from our main characters for a meta joke between a young writer and an older director. Perhaps this was a substitute for the inner turmoil that Mazziotti faced while wearing both hats, but the argument over whether or not to give the Narrator another love interest and the power struggle between the two is less interesting than I say. It steals the energy from a movie that was already struggling to achieve its goal. There are a number of famous faces and names in the supporting cast, including Mr. Emmet Walsh, Jessica Walter, Austin Pendleton and Gina Gershon, but they barely stay on screen long enough to add a bit of life in the movie.
To put it bluntly, “The Mimic” is an inelegant comedy. Bits are strewn across the plot that don’t always seem to connect with each other or with reason. It’s a name-only comedy, with ridiculous, unexplained, and contrived situations leading the charge. The moral of the story seems to be that it’s not the life-threatening trip that matters, but the sociopathic friends we made along the way. And Sadoski and Robinson’s unbalanced performances never quite come together in a fun dynamic to watch. It is the uncomfortable feeling of watching an argument in public.
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