A struggling artist tries to find solace after his mother passes away in this unique and heartfelt comedy.
Comedies are some of the hardest stories to write. What’s funny to some may not be funny to all, which is what makes them so difficult to pull off. This hasn’t stopped Writers or movie studios from attempting them though. They’ve been a staple in the industry since the beginning of filmmaking. As the decades progress, moviegoers have seen the way comedic films have evolved. They went from simple, slapstick tales, to complex and wildly diverse stories. There’s still Slapstick-style films that come out, but those are far and few between nowadays. Nevertheless, comedy will continue to be a beloved genre in the industry, because they help audiences forget their own problems. Seeing actors experiencing traumatic and goofy events allows us to escape our daily lives, and laugh at those much less fortunate. While there are several different ways to present a comedy, Smart-Comedy seems to be a common style recently. Not everyone ‘gets’ smart/subtle humor, but these can be some of the best comedic tales. Actors mildly crack jokes under their breath in these types of films, and those can be some of the funniest lines. This and more can be seen in the film, Dean; Written, Directed and starring Demetri Martin.
Dean is a story about an artist who’s been struggling since his mother died. To make matters worse, Dean (Demetri Martin), and his father, Robert (Kevin Kline), fail to sooth each other’s grief. It’s a struggle many folks may be able to relate to. Opening the film this way seems strange for a comedy, but it also suggests it can only get better, right? Well, for Dean and his father; both experience a crossroads in this story. The two part ways briefly, and learn they have a lot of love left to give. Various ‘First World’ problems keep getting in the way though. Dean needs to find a way to break free of his Death-inspired drawings, and his father needs to sell the family home they all lived in for many years. Both have a long road to recovery, and it begins with getting away from their past. To get this process started, Dean flies out to California to meet with some ‘Creatives,’ and Robert hires a realtor. Little do they know it’s the beginning of their salvation.
While in California, Dean quickly discovers he’s way outside his element. L.A. people are completely different than New Yorkers, and folks from Brooklyn for that matter. The West Coast folks practically look at Dean like he just got off the bus when he shows up. Their hostility is awkward, funny, and disturbing at times. Luckily for Dean, he’s also a breath of fresh air compared to the walking ‘headshots’ he sees wondering the city and social events. His shyness also happens to catch the attention of a local gal named, Nicky (Gillian Jacobs). The two hit it off at a party, but her bitchy friend, Jill (Ginger Gonzaga) keeps pulling her away from the conversation. Nevertheless, Dean takes these awkward moments in stride and goes on about his day. He can’t help but wonder about Nicky though.
Dean’s father, Robert, is experiencing something similar. While attempting to sell the family home, he hits it off with the realtor, Carol (Mary Steenburgen). The two seem to enjoy the same things, and learn they have an interest in one another. It’s been a year since Robert’s wife passed though, so this leads to some mixed emotions for him.
Think Dean and his father can find a way to shake off their grief in this unique and refreshing comedy? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…let’s check out what all is included in this DVD release.
The menu design consists of several looping clips from the film. The options are listed along the bottom, and include: Play Movie, Scene Selection, Set Up, and Special Features. The ‘Scene Selection’ option displays four chapters at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a short preview from the scene. The ‘Set Up’ option lets viewers choose the Audio and Subtitle tracks for the film. There’s only one audio track included with this release, and it’s English 5.1 Dolby Digital. The subtitles come in English and Spanish.
Now let’s check out the Special Features included with this DVD release!
– This is a Movie: Making Dean (7:23): In this feature, Writer/Director/Actor Demetri Martin talks about the basis of the plot of Dean. It’s an emotional and personal tale about ‘the first thing you never get over,’ which is the loss of a parent. Martin talks about the cast he found, and the extreme appreciation he had for those who helped with this film. It’s a brief feature, but certainly worth the watch.
– Drawing on Film: Stories About Dean (9:52): This is another great behind-the-scenes feature. It consists of interviews with the cast talking about their characters and the drawings that pop up throughout the film. It’s a really insightful extra that fans will enjoy.
– Dean: Q&A with Demetri Martin and Rory Scovel (6:16): Demetri and Rory ask one another questions about the story and their characters in this feature. It’s an emotional and telling clip that answers many questions viewers may have about the inspiration for the film.
Overall, Dean is an entertaining film audiences will love. Its subtle humor and realistic story allow viewers to easily relate with the main characters. The struggle of losing a parent affects members of a family differently, and it’s seen in the film how difficult that can be. High praise to Demetri Martin for creating something completely original and fun to watch. We can only hope more films like this are made in the near future.
If you’re in the mood for a smart/witty comedy about a struggling artist, don’t hesitate to check out this film. It’s a beautiful story that’ll keep viewers engaged and laughing from beginning to end. Check it out on DVD today!