Agently attitudinous, generally zippy urban fairy tale about pop stars and the hangers-on who coddle (or prey upon) them, Tom DiCillo's Delirious is a mild Midnight Cowboy, a minor King of Comedy, and mainly a vehicle for Steve Buscemi as a lower Manhattanbased paparazzo. Not entirely by accident, a dumb, sweet, homeless hunk (Michael Pitt) becomes an unpaid intern for the irascible photographer (seedy even by Buscemi standards), then manages to connect with one of the celebrity-stalker's subjects, a Spearsoid mediocrity played by Alison Lohman. Pitt falls in love with the singer's image and is swept into a VIP world where the camera mediates every emotion, particularly once he is adopted by Gina Gershon's predatory casting director. DiCillo has a feel for this milieuthe "Soap Stars Against STD" banquet and a scene in which two cell-wielding flacks negotiate their clients' impending rope-line reunion are minor classicsas well as an eye for downtown glamour. (His 1991 feature Johnny Suede gave thenTV actor Brad Pitt his first starring role; that film also established Catherine Keener's screen persona.) As a director, DiCillo has an evident rapport with his actors. Lohman demonstrates a hitherto unexplored comic timing in the mock music video "Take Your Love and Shove It." But it's Buscemi who imbues the movie with a scabrous pathos that is scarcely mitigated by the final flash-bulb white-out. A former cinematographer, DiCillo has always made visually fastidious movies. Perhaps this is the case with Delirious, but I can't be suredemonstrating a brainless contempt for everyone concerned, the movie's PR firm chose to press-screen a cruddy digital transfer branded throughout with the frame-wide inscription "Property of Peace Arch Films."
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful