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Sidekick: The Downside of Superpowers
By Brandon Judell
Norman (Perry Mucci) is the ultimate office nebbish/computer geek, his existence barely registering on anyone's awareness scale. Between keyboard strokes, he moons over pretty secretaries, but to no avail, and at company sports events, he's the only one relegated to videotaping the activities.
No wonder then that on his time off, Norman submerges himself in the carryings-on of comic book superheroes. Only in a land of make-believe where the imagination reigns freely can someone as inept as this twerp of twerps find happiness. But let it be known, even in his fantasies, Norman is only the sidekick to a superhero, never the lead. Imagine a sort of a milquetoast Robin.
But just when his real life seems stuck on Dreary, Norman discovers that Victor (David Ingram), one of his office mates, has superpowers. Yes, this Casanova is in fact a closeted Superman, who's embarrassed by his deluxe powers such as the ability to float vases midair.
Suddenly, Norman has a goal in life. He will train the reluctant Victor into becoming a paladin for modern times. Soon no criminal will dare ply his trade. No politician will be crooked. And acid rain will be a thing of the past.
There's one catch. Victor isn't exactly a very nice person. He's narcissistic, he's misogynous, and he couldn't care less about what's troubling the world. Uh-oh.
The result here is a simple, endearing little comedy that is pure low-budget indie in all its glorious elements, from the sets to the casting to the technical aspects. You can easily tell that the budget was threadbare. In fact, the catering for the crew probably consisted of tap water and peanut-and-jelly sandwiches.
Yet with very little, director Blake Van de Graaf, writer/producer and Michael Sparaga, and the convincing Ingram prove that they all have talent in spades. Somebody please throw cash at them.
Sadly, a film that could be perfectly marketed to teens has one hilarious episode that might unnerve overly protective parents. When Victor and Norman are walking down the street one night looking for felons, a gang accosts the two, falsely accusing them of being gay. In the ultimate act of politically-correct revenge, Victor, with just the slightest of brow movements, forces two of the nasty homophobes to engage in a sex act on each other that most folks wouldn't want their kids to know about until they're 32 or so.
That aside, it's not surprising that "Sidekick" won the "Overall/Audience Choice Award" at the 2005 Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival. It was much deserved.
Director: Blake Van de Graf
Writer/Producer: Michael Sparaga
Director of Photography: Jordan Cushing
Cast: Perry Mucci, David Ingram, Mackenzie Lush, Daniel Baldwin, Julian Osen, Daniel Krolik
Copyright © Brandon Judell 2006
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