Comedic Flair, Dead Air, and Self-Aggrandizement in Dealin' With Idiots
As simplistic and ungracious as its title, Jeff Garlin's debut as an indie auteur relives the stupefying ordeal the brand-name cable comic and cartoon-voice pro apparently had to undergo handling the Beverly Hills parents attached to his son's Little League team. Enlisting a horde of deft buddies (Bob Odenkirk, Fred Willard, Richard Kind, Nia Vardalos) to caricature the hyper-competitive monstro-moms and psycho-dads, Garlin rather self-aggrandizingly shoots every fish in his beer can, particularly once he begins visiting with the narcissistic assholes (the adults, not the kids, who get almost no screentime) as "research" for a script he might develop about how stupid they are. Years of HBO seasoning has given Garlin and his cast a sure touch and great timing (Jami Gertz's high-tension snack matriarch stands out as a remarkable creation), but the whole project is mean-hearted and lazy, and it dawdles in repetition and dead air as if it's got a 14-show TV season to spin out. Sometimes it's enough; bantering in a dusty ballpark in the hot L.A. sun isn't an unpleasant vibe. You wouldn't mind being there, but only if you were Garlin—everybody else gets made a fool.
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