Cinema Review: Aardvark | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, October 26th, 2020  

Aardvark

Studio: Great Point Media
Directed by Brian Shoaf

Apr 18, 2018 Web Exclusive
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Some films have you remaining in your seat through the credits so that you can put a name to the featured excellence you just witnessed. With others you never think to look. Then there are those that have you checking IMDB later to puzzle over how the principals ever agreed to get together. To characterize the bizarrely nondescript small feature Aardvark in the third sense is harsh but the ire comes mostly from the feeling that it could have been so much more intriguing with a better script. But then that goes without saying.

The meanest thing you can say about Aardvark is that it’s yet another case of a small film that leaves you wondering how it ever got greenlit, stimulating the thought that if a script this rudderless can be made into a film, why not give it a go yourself? The kindest thing you can say is that after you’ve accepted its poor conception and clear lack of follow through and gotten over the aggravation that watching it will be a waste of attention, the lowered expectations actually make room for small redemptive surprises.

The performance of Zachary Quinto as the amiable, aimless and psychologically-troubled Josh who deals with hallucinations in a small town America and Jenny Slate as his new therapist Emily are begging for better material to work with. But just because someone can act doesn’t mean he or she can spot a script for its potential. In another misplaced casting of John Hamm in an independent, Josh’s semi-famous brother Craig comes into the picture out of thin air, presumably to pad the thin story with a character counterpoint. But his relationship with Emily feels like a throw in with the purpose of substantiating her compulsions for shallow sexual affairs, a character trait floated out and left to dangle. 

Though it’s hard to spot a point here, it seems to circulate around the misdirection of unreliable perspectives encountered on Josh’s unusual wandering, which reads more like a way to elude the responsibility of having a cogent narrative where things line up. A good score by Heather McIntosh and a mysterious small role by Sheila Vand as one of Josh’s hallucinations make up in small ways.

Author rating: 2.5/10

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