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Proof that there is such a thing as a gentle action comedy

Posted at 11:58 AM on June 16, 2006 by Euan Kerr

"The Almost Guys."
is unashamedly a throwback to the 1970's where feature films followed ordinary schmoes thought slightly extraordinary circumstances. Actually director Eric Fleming's tale of a pair of bumbling repo men who discover a major league pitcher bound and gagged in the trunk of a car they grab, throws back in many ways: hairstyles, preferred cars, and even tube socks.

The repo men realize this could be a golden opportunity to make a lot of money, but then proceed to trip themselves up at almost every turn. As they get into the kidnapping business, they soon discover they are pretty clueless. In the end Rick's 8 year old son Buddy (Oliver Davis) knows much more about how to plan a caper, purely because he has seen so many movies on TV.

Fleming, who wrote the screenplay, and plays Rick, one of the repo men, aquits himself well in his directorial debut.

Rick is a man with hopes and dreams, but an innate understanding that for him anything that can go wrong inevitably will. Fleming's story is about almost-lovable losers who can see success and happiness just ahead of them, but they never quite catch up. It's a scenario familiar to many of us.

Robert Culp turns in a fine performance as the geriatric Colonel who is Rick's partner-in-crime, as does Shawnee ("Saw") Smith as the love interest for a couple of characters.

There are fumbling car chases and inept shoot-outs in "The Almost Guys," which are much more realistic than much of the fare seen in most action films.

This is a gentle kind of an action comedy, and it's worth a look ( Fleming and his producer Andrea Michaud will appear at screenings tonight and tomorrow at the Lagoon in Minneapolis to talk about making the movie, and working in indie film.)

In other news: Minnesota Film Arts sent out word that Al Milgrom broke his arm the other day in what was described as a "battle with an escalator" on Wednesday at a film festival in Seattle. Who says life on the festival circuit isn't dangerous? Get well soon Al!

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