How’s that suffocating sense of hipster irony working out? Not so well for Swanson (Tim Heidecker), the lumpy central figure of this failed, have-your-cake-and-judge-it-too statement on generational detachment. Wandering a New York City summer in flip-flops, shades and a slack-jawed expression, Swanson fills his time lounging with his sarcastic cohorts (didn’t beards used to indicate wisdom?), provoking random gardeners or cabbies, and sailing on his father’s sloop. He’s set to inherit a fortune, but life must be hard when you’re empty inside because you’re too cool for sincerity. The movie meanders from scene to scene too, never ratcheting up the tension or stakes.
Ah, but that’s the bone-dry comment of it all, extending even to the title. Just as your patience wears thin (tired pro-Hitler party chat?), the movie loses its conviction, with the occasional snatch of “he’s hurting privately” music and an unpersuasive effort to push through the scrim of cynicism. Unlike a truly daring movie like Lars von Trier’s The Idiots—about a gang of clever jerks who pretend to be mentally retarded—The Comedy never musters an articulate indictment, nor does it have much to say on the subject of free-floating fatigue. You’ll cringe seeing LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, playing one of the friends, throw in with this project. His songs, laced with real emotion (including ennui), are the exact opposite of this faux-courageous nondrama.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf