On a whim a couple of days back, I accompanied Rob to see Kabluey. It was remarkably easy to relate to the sad sack awkward main character who couldn't quite get his crap together because that very day I had stupidly fumbled an opportunity to see Vicky Christina Barcelona (you know that hurt me in my tender places) and Hamlet 2 also slipped through the cracks. I'm so disorganized!
Anyway, Kabluey is a no-budget indie about a war bride (Lisa Kudrow) whose husband has been in Iraq for way too long. She can't manage single motherhood and two unruly boys. Her estranged brother- in-law (writer/director Scott Pendregrast) shows up to help. Only he isn't much help. There's some inspired slapstick (involving the job he gets as a giant blue corporate mascot) a 'where ya been?' cameo (Teri Garr) and a dependably wicked supporting spin from Christine Taylor (aka "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" and Mrs. Ben Stiller). Though Kabluey is almost relentlessly downbeat at its core there's quite a few laughs to be had within the miserabilism.
Kabluey B: It might be hard to catch in theaters due to the very limited release but worth a rental once it arrives on DVD
Here's the trailer below and I've paired it with the classic "Smelly Cat" from Friends just for fun.
Which brings us to Lisa Kudrow. Her film career has been ...odd. Everyone loved her on Friends as ditzy bohemian Phoebe. Yet towards its last seasons Phoebe got much bitchier and less loveable and Kudrow's post Friends career characters have had a startling underlay of anger to them. I'm not talking about the enjoyable vicious comic diva but rather the unhappy woman variety of bitchery.
Now some actors naturally project different persona and read different from small to large screen but I think it's worth noting. But I can't think of an actress who reads more intriguingly disagreeable than Kudrow apart from maybe Anne Heche at her prime. This isn't to say that Kudrow isn't a valuable screen actor. I haven't seen her recent cancelled television series The Comeback but she was absolutely terrific as the bitter sister-in-law in The Opposite of Sex (1998, robbed of an Oscar nomination). She did fairly complex engaging work as the bitter stepsister in Happy Endings holding her own in scenes opposite a never-better Maggie Gyllenhaal (which is saying a lot). And here again she does good work as a bitter sister-in-law.
But all this bitterness and sisterhood. What is going on here?