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Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Too Much Sleep

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Jack Crawford, the security-guard hero of Too Much Sleep, actually seems to be suffering from too little. Daydreaming and easily distracted, he has his gun stolen from him one day while riding the bus home. His pursuit of the lost object leads him to encounters with various characters who seem to have hidden agendas and speak in assertive non sequiturs. It’s a neat premise (its source, as acknowledged in one cryptic bit of dialogue, is Kurosawa’s Stray Dog) and writer-director David Marquiling maintains a properly spaced-out tone, even as the story slips away into the ether.

The problem, as is so often the case with otherwise impressive debuts, lies with the script. The acting is uniformly fine. Marc Palmieri’s Jack is an amiable dunce who never seems to know quite where he is or why. Eddie, who helps him in his quest for the gun, is played by Pasquale Gaeta as an extended impersonation of Joe Pesci, in a profane but nondemonic mode. The assorted characters Jack encounters are convincingly odd.

Unfortunately Jack’s Candide-like peregrinations eventually grow tiresome and the film, though a mere 80 minutes long, feels padded. It’s another example of the curse of Tarrentino-ism — which manifests itself not as excess violence, but rather in the mistaken belief that it would be interesting if everybody in the movie were a fount of rambling dialog.

Marquiling doesn’t have the chops to finesse all this insinuating chatter, which makes the proceedings seem, eventually, less surreal than silly.

Opens Friday exclusively at the Star Rochester Hills (200 Barclay Circle, Rochester Hills) as part of the Shooting Gallery Film Series. Call 248-853-2260.

Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for the Metro Times. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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