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"Me & You & Everyone We Know"|
90 minutes | Rated: R
LIMITED: Friday, July 1, 2005
Written & directed by Miranda July
Starring Miranda July, John Hawkes, Miles Thompson, Brandon Ratcliff, Natasha Slayton, Najarra Townsend, Carlie Westerman, Brad William Henke, Hector Elias, Ellen Geer, Tracy Wright, Jordan Potter
On-screen charms of writer-director add lift to oddball melancholy ensemble piece 'Me and You And Everyone'
It probably helps a great deal that the wispy, flower-like Miranda July appears in her own film, as her adorable, blue-eyed presence warms what would have been a cold, quirky, Todd Solondz-like experience in "Me and You and Everyone We Know."
Like a mini-"Short Cuts," the story follows several lost and lonely characters as they cross paths in funny, sad and sometimes disturbing ways. A six year-old boy chats on an internet sex site, a man lights his hand on fire and a woman practically throws herself at him, not comprehending how dangerous or unhinged he may be. Yet none of this sets off any alarm bells, thanks to July's wide-eyed dreaminess and eternal hope.
A former performance artist and video maker, her feature debut plays both with memorable visuals and lovingly written words. From the opening sequence -- in which she records two voices for a potential video art piece -- she raises our hopes and manages to keep them there.
July plays Christine, a video artist who falls for Richard (John Hawkes), a newly divorced father of two boys, one a teenager and the other only six. Christine also drives an Elder Cab and becomes involved with some of her aged clients. Otherwise, we meet a couple of teenage girls experimenting with sex, Richard's African-American ex-wife, who already has a new boyfriend, and a lonely art museum curator.
I wouldn't go so far as to call this picture "sweet," but it's definitely funny and appealing in an oddball way. One passage of dialogue, equating the length of a relationship to the length of a sidewalk, is better than any sequence in any recent Hollywood romantic comedy.