Supporting Characters (***)

supporting_charactersConsistently low key but largely entertaining, ‘Supporting Characters’ is a good little indie flick that gets by on good will and charm. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, just as a way of describing how something as simple as this manages to work. Mainly a comedic look at the difficulties of both personal and workplace relationships, the main highlight of the movie is the banter that star Alex Karpovsky engages in with the rest of the cast. Co-writer/director Daniel Schechter keeps things loose, and the script he co-wrote with Tarik Lowe (who also has a major role) is observational and rather witty. Nothing about the work is extraordinary, but much of it is rather solid. It’s really not the kind of movie that you go wild over, but folks who like their Manhattan set comedies to mix the vibe of Woody Allen and HBO’s series ‘Girls’ (which Karpovsky has a supporting role on) will likely dig what this flick has to offer. I’m recommending it overall due to its easy going and pleasurable nature (plus the polish that it shows off despite being made for only about 50 grand), but this isn’t the most memorable of films. It’s nice while you’re watching it, but that’s about it. Still, it’s early on in 2013, so that’s still better than average.

Nick Berger (Karpovsky) is a movie editor living in New York City. His partner Darryl Wiggins (Lowe) is his best friend and right hand man. Together, they make a living cutting the fat from films and saving them in the editing room when necessary. While dealing with a new project that’s been given to them in need of a lot of effort, they find themselves not just in professional crises, but personal ones as well. The director of the film Adrian (Kevin Corrigan) has botched the comedy and never shows up to work, so their ADR sessions are essentially re-shoots now too. While more or less directing a scene with the star of the movie Jamie (Arielle Kebbel), Nick finds that they’re getting along really well. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except that he’s engaged to his fiancée Amy (Sophia Takal), so temptation could be an issue for him. At the same time, Darryl is trying to keep his volatile relationship with his girlfriend Liana (Melonie Diaz) together. Their often humorous struggles make up the bulk of what this movie is about. The plot isn’t especially thick, but the character interactions are realistic enough to keep things moving forward in a rather satisfactory way.

supporting25f-3-webNo one in the cast blew me away, but Alex Karpovsky continues to grab my attention in interesting ways. His character is the wittiest and most enjoyable of the group, even if he’s not always the nicest guy. Karpovsky isn’t Oscar caliber, not by any stretch, but he’s the best of the bunch. His chemistry with Tarik Lowe, Sophia Takal, and Arielle Kebbel make for the best scenes. Lowe is at his best when on screen with Karpovsky, suffering somewhat when his less interesting subplots are given full focus. The same goes for Kebbel, though her scenes pretty much only include Karpovsky. Takal disappears for large stretches and doesn’t impress when she’s there, but she’s hardly bad. Kevin Corrigan essentially cameos, while the rest of the cast includes Melonie Diaz, Mike Landry, and a quick cameo from Lena Dunham. Arielle Kebbel is good in a flirty sort of way, but Karpovsky is the top dog here.

I really commend Daniel Schechter for doing this work on the shoestring budget that he had to work with. His direction is simple and effective, while the script he co-wrote with Tarik Lowe smartly chooses to focus on characters and dialogue. The pacing isn’t always that great, but Schechter does far more right than he does wrong. He lets his cast play together, and some very amusing moments come of it. Schecter and Lowe aren’t working with the most original premise of all time, but they do their best to give it some defining characteristics. Focusing on film editors was a nice choice. The scenes of them bickering over cutting the movie have a strong vibe of authenticity.

‘Supporting Characters’ is very much a film that takes its cues from its own title. Hardly a star, it’s content to do its job, get in, and get out. I had a good time with it and think that many of you will too, but in no way is it going to stick out in your mind a year from now. That’s just the nature of its content. I doubt that I’ll ever revisit it, but this viewing was more than satisfying for me. Give it a look if you’re a fan of this type of flick. It likely won’t let you down…

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!