Holt McCallany stars as Les, a film student returning to Brooklyn to make a documentary about where he grew up. It speaks volumes that his claims of being a filmmaker are met with oohs and aahs rather than mockery or concern. His efforts are earnest and unfocused, and he realizes he has no topic, instead just focusing the camera on whichever larger-than-life characters happen to be around. Slowly (improvisationally?) a narrative begins to form, as residents in the area discuss the legend of wayward slacker Jimmy (Sam Rockwell, briefly), who has a glass-eye and a friendly temperment and has mysteriously vanished over the last few days.
In spite of all these stars, would you believe director Sam Henry Kass felt the desire to focus the spotlight more on Michael Badalucco and Nicolas Turturro? The two are accomplished actors, no doubt, but Kass features them as the standout performances, and both are clearly indulging their absolute schticky worst. Badalucco, an actor of undeniable presence, is the butt of a series of fat jokes as Joe Head, the local goofball who remains five minutes behind everyone else in conversation, wiggling his jelly frame in the corner of every scene in baby blue sweatpants. Turturro becomes the voice of Les' film as the motor-mouthed Junior, a wannabe gangsta rocking thick, ugly jewelry, with thick studded glasses provided by an optometrist when they clearly could have been procured from a joke store. Both play different ends of the fast-talking schmuck spectrum, and the film comes to a halt as the two of them have constant rap sessions while the talented McCallany (so good on FX's canceled "Lights Out") simply watches.
Howver, like most flawed indie picture of the era, 'Jimmy' closes with a nose-thumbing epilogue that not only confirms Joe and Junior as our would-be heroes, but also suggests that their own lives could become big-screen fodder. The moment is sobering, an acknowledgement that, in the early days of the indie movement, there was the suggestion that anyone with a camera could have broken through as an example of the counterculture. Technology has eased the roadblocks to the creativity of young filmmakers today, but there are no such illusions about the appeal of any sort of counterculture to the mainstream. It's only fitting that the film's two most intolerable characters in the film head off into the sunset with delusions of grandeur. [C]
"The Search For One Eyed Jimmy" is now available on DVD and BluRay.