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USA 2011
Directed by
Alex Ross Perry
83 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Color Wheel

Having started off his film career with the sophomoric cleverness of his nose-thumbing 2009 debut Impolex Alex Ross Perry reins in his taste for transgression with this comedy about two grown up siblings, Colin (Perry) and his older sister J R (Carlen Altman) as they drive from Pennsylvania to Boston to collect her stuff from the apartment of the the professor she has been sleeping with and has now broken up with.

Altman is credited as co-writer with Perry and I assume that they are girlfriend and boyfriend as they fire off each other brilliantly in what is a nearly ceaseless colloquy as they bicker and mock  and snipe at each other and every one they encounter.  Yet the disdainful banter conceals an evidently deeply affectionate relationship based on ultimately similar worldviews.  So authentic feeling is the dialogue that It is in fact hard to believe that the two are not brother and sister (the penultimate scene plays on our investment in the possibility).

Although not everyone will take to them, JR and Colin are priceless characters, she is vain, ambitious, self-doubting and verbally abusive, he is diffident, compliant and sarcastic (Perry’s vocal delivery and even facial expressions are remarkably similar to those of  Michael Cera). Ditto for the humour which is excruciating in depicting a series of humiliations situations for both characters

Shot on film by Sean Price Williams in grainy black-and-white (a seemingly typical negation of the film’s title) the film which skillfully uses its low-budget resource is a considerable advance over his first offering in terms of actually making something an audience can engage with. Not that everyone will want to do so.

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