19 February 2013 | coop2046
Portrait of a (Perpetually) Young Man
I caught this film at last year's SXSW film festival, and it ended up being one of the more memorable surprises of the fest. A droll comedy with elements of surrealism blended in, Somebody Up There Likes Me is about Max (Keith Poulson), who drifts through life with an air of detachment, taking in every new major development (such as marriage and childbirth) with a shrug. In a sense nothing really seems to change for Max, a point which is driven home by the fact that he never visibly ages on screen, even though the story skips ahead 5 years at a time on numerous occasions. Max is frequently accompanied by his best friend and co-worker Sal (Nick Offerman), who dishes out hilarious advice and acts as a sounding board, confidant and, eventually, romantic rival.
Somebody Up There Likes Me is a wry meditation on life, fate, mortality, and responsibility. Despite the presence of such seemingly heady themes, the film is briskly paced and remains consistently funny thanks to some sharply written dialogue and a terrific cast. Keith Poulson and Nick Offerman make for a great pair, and their banter is perhaps the highlight of the movie. The animated interludes (by Bob Sabiston, of Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly fame) are evocative and contribute to the somewhat dreamy quality of the material. I look forward to seeing the film again, as it's one that has stuck with me for some time. If nothing else, Somebody Up There Likes Me feels completely unique, an oddball charmer that takes you on a funny and melancholy journey through something like human existence.