Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
92 mins, USA, 2013
Summary from Google Search:
Determined to suppress his homosexuality, a college dropout (Jonathan Groff) heads to Oregon, takes a job picking apples and, ultimately, finds religion.
I haven’t read the David Sedaris “essay” this film is based on, or if I have I’ve forgotten it, but I have read Me Talk Pretty One Day and When You Are Engulfed By Flames. My overall impression of Sedaris is that, although funny, he is barely able to conceal his misanthropy and that he likes things nice ‘n’ tidy. A little too tidy, particularly in that last collection in which every piece ends like a key entering a lock, whether it opens the door or not.
Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez pares down the misanthropy, although there are a couple characters here who are truly awful and who function primarily so that the privileged, well-educated main character, David, can get his comeuppance for being, well, so privileged, educated, and also tone-deaf and clueless. They are like jokes played on David, that turn into tragedies but then lessons on the road to his becoming a real boy. It’s all very mechanical and unbelievable, as is the idea that no one watching could figure out what the film’s acronym stands for long before it’s revealed. I guess we’re supposed to laugh at David because he didn’t but I just face-palmed.
The best thing about COG is lead Jonathan Groff, who is not at all the beaming, scheming insincere closet case he played on Glee, but whose gentle and low-key delivery of punch lines and reveals, none of which are very funny or revealing, shows that he has some sympathy for the character — I didn’t — and also for the script. If he’d been less subtle the mechanics would have felt even more forced.
Not sure how I got through this without I fast-forwarding.