When Cynthia receives a civil war sword that “proves” the south won the war, she and her partner Mary enlist the help of two pawnshop owners to sell it to an easily duped millionaire.
From the outset, I was a little nervous about how I would like this film. Marc Maron can be abrasive but I do sometimes like his comedy. I am the sort of person that used to skip his rants to get to the interview on his now famous podcast “WTF.” Even that, though, I tired of so I wondered if I would be similarly motivated to eventually check out of this film.
I was in for a bit of a treat though. This film, while tapping into Marc’s talents, is definitely not simply his voice thrown on the big screen. There are a lot of really great laughs, awkward moments, incredulous circumstances, and zany antics from everyone involved in this film.
The setup for the film is that a couple, Mary (Michaela Watkins, “The House”) and Cynthia (Jillian Bell, “Inherent Vice”), are given a sword from the Civil War by their dead Grandfather. In a dementia scrambled note, He details a winding and contradictory narrative that ends in this thought; The sword proves the South won the war.
They end up deciding to try to sell it for an astronomical sum of money and introduce Mel (Marc Maron, “Almost Famous”) and Nathaniel (Jon Bass, “Loving”) into their little scheme since they know where they can find people who will believe the sword’s sordid history and pay dearly for it and the light it sheds on an alternate history.
I won’t get any further into the plot but the setup should be enough to see that there is a lot of opportunity for humor in this film especially with a cast that is as funny as this one. What I wasn’t expecting was the layers of conversation and depth that the film was going to bring to bear on such an, on the surface at least, ridiculous premise.
For example, the women get this sword and are disgusted by the fact that their grandfather thought the South won the war, and probably along with it, a lot of other out there stuff. So they don’t want it.
But they do want the money it could fetch them so they head to the pawn shop where they proceed to try to convince the owner that the sword really is the sword that should have ended the war because that would be worth more money.
The film constantly turns truth on its head like this, making fun of people who basically say and believe whatever is convenient to their ends or giving us heartfelt scenes where people are facing things from their past and how we tell ourselves stories then rewrite them in our brains to make us feel better about them not caring so much about their veracity.
This is a film which tries to be about more than just the comedy and succeeds in that aim. It isn’t as heavy as my review might make it sound. I just focused on that because it was the most surprising aspect of the movie.
It’s a solid comedy that would be a worthy add to the ole’ watchlist but I probably wouldn’t go out of the way to seek it out. To be honest, if it pops up as a suggestion on whatever streaming platform you subscribe to, then watch it. If it doesn’t, you aren’t missing that much.
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