Paul Bojack’s aimless comedy/drama Reset wanly charts the travails of 30-year-old would-be writer Floyd (Edward Deraney), who returns anonymously to his Santa Monica hometown because, in his own unconvincing words, “there’s something subversive about being back home and not telling your family.”
There’s nothing especially pressing on Floyd’s agenda, so he spends his time engaging in encounters in seedy motels with a string of sex workers alternately old enough to be his mother and young enough to be his daughter. Floyd’s creepy antics are intermittently crosscut with two underdeveloped, almost surreally uninteresting subplots: one about his family’s business activities; the other about casually misogynist dudebros squabbling over a girl. Bojack gives us no reason to care about either. To make matters worse, Deraney’s performance is charisma-free — a shame, given that Bojack clearly wants the viewer to consider Floyd a sly gutter poet in the vein of Charles Bukowski, Harvey Pekar, or even George Carlin, whose name is unwisely invoked in the script.
Floyd’s writing, as glumly orated by Deraney in interstitial scenes, is a risible compendium of mundane observations matched with limp, soft-focus depictions of the objects he describes (“mop…catfish…puddle of water”). Amid an affectless narrative, Reset‘s only hint of momentum stems from harshly lit late-night driving scenes scored by Kraut-rock style music, which foster an atmosphere of foreboding that’s sorely lacking elsewhere.
At least Bojack had the decency to bring this turgid, self-indulgent doodle in at a slim 79 minutes.