"The Animal Project" stars Aaron Poole as Leo, a thirty-something acting teacher, who is way too hippie-like in nature to put together coherent thoughts, although I'm sure he thinks he does. He instructs six wannabe actors on how to act, and they are just as insufferable as he is with their pretentious techniques and ideas on how to be successful in life.
The Animal Project is an idea that Leo has, that if actors dress up in animal mascot suits, they can then give hugs out to people on the street. (Grown adult men cannot do this without going to jail, hence the need for the animal costumes). It would have been interesting to see where they take this animal project idea, except Leo and the actors were struggling with "what does it all mean, man," and whatever idea or questions the filmmakers wanted to put out there were lost as I have no clue what the point of any of this was.
The opening scene was fairly well constructed. Leo was asking questions to each of the actors and filming their responses. And each was cut during the opening credits, so we just got a flash of what each of these people were like. But we also got the nagging suspicion that they were acting. After all, they are actors. But then to give further introduction to each of the actors, we got very bleak, slow introductory scenes of random, meaningless moments in their life. In fact, the point could very well be, that as struggling to become actors they feel like they are living meaningless lives and losing themselves in the process. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that idea can carry a slow, bare film about pretentious actors.
The second main theme is Leo's struggle to raise his son. Leo struggles with a lot of things; he probably can't even put a pair of pants on, but that would belong in a comedy, which this is not. The film also loses a lot of interest before we even get to the father- son drama.
"The Animal Project" is a slow, austere drama trying to string together some semblance of meaning to people who either don't have much meaning or deserve to be understood. Even if there was a point to the animal project or the father-son drama, it was lost in a lack of interest.
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