Film

Dito Montiel’s “The Clapper” Fails to Rouse Applause

This survey of showbiz grunt work has an interesting premise, but most everything in it feels forced

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There are plenty of odd jobs in Hollywood, and with the comedy The Clapper, Dito Montiel tries to give some humanity to the hordes of paid, in-studio audiences who smile and applaud their way through infomercials.

Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) and his friend Chris Plork (Tracy Morgan) make a meager living clapping for products in TV studios. When a late-night talk show host takes notice of Eddie’s seeming omnipresence throughout the circuit, Eddie’s world gets turned upside down. His girlfriend, Judy (Amanda Seyfried), an animal-loving gas station attendant, cuts their budding romance short and disappears when he goes viral. After several missteps, Eddie uses his newfound late-night fame to try to find Judy and profess his love to her.

With The Clapper, based off of Montiel’s 2007 book, Montiel wants to answer some big questions: Who are the everyday people doing showbiz grunt work? What’s the price of fame? How do late-night shows find new bits for every damn show? Unfortunately, the film fails to make those answers interesting, believable, or even funny.

“I love how weird you are, you know?” Eddie tells Judy earnestly. “You’re, like, totally wacky like me.” The Clapper unsuccessfully attempts to be sincere and embrace the absurdity of its characters’ lives, but like Eddie’s confession, everything feels forced. It’s an interesting premise, but The Clapper doesn’t live up to its namesake.

The Clapper
Written and directed by Dito Montiel
Momentum Pictures
Opens January 26, Cinema Village

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