30 December 2003 | lchaney-1
Imaginative mix of fantasy & reality
Worth watching twice because of the rapid-paced causal shifts among several compelling stories, "Bug" emerges as a wholly satisfying work of art that plays ever-optimistic love against myriad examples of frustrating reality.
My favorite characters are Wallace (John Carroll Lynch)whose overriding concern for life--from that of a cockroach to the airline passengers for whom he is partially responsible--frames the film; Olive (Christina Kirk), who spends considerable time creating surreal but tasty meals for her impossible husband Ernie (Chris Bauer); and Mitchell, a cable TV technician with unbounded trust in fortune cookie messages: "You will meet the girl of your dreams."
Against such optimism are the forces of quirky reality, all generated by actions of the characters: parking tickets, a clogged drain in a Chinese food/donut shop, TV disruption, a crushed auto fender, an obliterated dinner reservation that eventually results in cancellation of a Hawaiian vacation.
The film is funny: Olive getting drunk at a Chippendale performance, Johnston (Michael Hitchcock)as a customer service rep attempting to deal with an irate customer, the germ-obsessive Cyr (Brian Cox) facing a restaurant inspector, Dwight (Jamie Kennedy) reacting to his girlfriend's refusal to have children by writing hostile Chinese cookie fortunes: "Your girlfriend is lying to you" and the guy who falls asleep while manning a jackhammer because he spent the night looking for his girlfriend's missing cat.
A minor story with public cable access host (Darryl Theirse) and a local acting teacher reading from "The Boy in the Bubble" expresses the major theme: love comes from the heart.
"Bug" entertains on much the same level as "trains, planes and automobiles" but on a lower budget and with a fresher eye.