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Passenger Side (DVD Review)

25 Sep, 2010 By: Miko Revereza

Prebook 9/28/10; Street 10/26/10
$24.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Adam Scott, Joel Bissonnette, Robin Tunney.

What better place to shoot the great American road movie than the city with the most roads. Writer-director Matthew Bissonnette (Looking for Leonard, Who Loves the Sun) captures the absurd reality of a mundane day in Los Angeles and paints a heartfelt portrait of brotherly love in Passenger Side.

The title and premise, lifted from a Wilco song of the same name, involves two estranged brothers, one car and a wild ride on the open road. On the morning of his birthday, the elder brother, Michael Brown (played by Adam Scott of Step Brothers and “Party Down”) receives an early phone call from his brother Toby (played by Joel Bissonnette of Zodiac). With his plans of doing nothing for a day gone out the window, they set off in Michael’s decades-old BMW to run errands/find a job/find a reason for living. The plan is never really clear throughout their journey, but like they say, it’s not the destination that matters.

This witty comedy is full of dysfunctional humor, awkward moments and bittersweet charms. Its style recalls such American independent classics as Stranger Than Paradise and Midnight Train.

The screen presence of both Adam Scott and Joel Bissonnette is full of clever punches and subtle nuances. At times the dialogue becomes a bit abundant and claustrophobic. Conveniently, the music montages of out-the-window scenery creates good breaks between blocks of conversation while capturing some of the surreal aspects of LA in passing.

Special features include a making-of documentary and commentary with the director and lead actors.

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