Too Much Sleep
review by Gregory Avery, 30 March 2001

Jack (Marc Palmieri), the protagonist of David Maquiling's film, Too Much Sleep, has the lanky build of a high school basketball star but with beleaguered eyes that are almost heart-rendingly melancholy. Coming home on a city bus one morning from his job as a night security guard, he loses a paper bag that contained a gun that had originally belonged to his father, and, convinced that it was stolen by one of the people riding with him on the bus, Jack ends up going to see Eddie (Pasquale Gaeta), a boisterous little Italian who knows everyone and everything ("Jack, this cheese is really gonna speak t'ya!..." he says as he fresh-grates some onto Jack's plate of pasta), and Eddie sends Jack pinballing from one place to another -- from a Chinese restaurant to a male strip club, where he is pounded into submission by courteous bouncers in the parking lot -- in search of his lost property.

The film, which Maquiling wrote and directed and filmed in the suburbs of New Jersey,  tries very hard to be ingratiating without compromising itself. It tacks out its own points on the compass from the start and sticks by them. Jack shows a dogged determination in the early scenes that's very appealing (he spends one whole day following a woman whom he suspects is the thief around town, until she ends up offering him a beer for his effort).  But, like the search for the lost girl in L'Avventura, the search for the gun proves to be irrelevant. Jack is in danger of being totally cut out of the loop of human interaction, and the journey reintroduces him to the virtues of contact with others, but it's a point (a good one) that's so quietly made that you almost miss it.

Maquiling and the film's cinematographer, Robert Mowen, use a visual scheme that alternates between desaturating the colours out of scenes, or filling them with enough sunlight that it looks as if the light is hanging, permeating, in the air -- how the world would look to someone who makes a living working nights but has never entirely adjusted to the change. The look gives, in retrospect, a wonderfully floating, shimmering quality to the film, like a dream or a story that you recollect from memory.

It's nice -- terrific, in fact -- to see a new film comedy that exercises a light touch instead of lobbing bricks at us. And there were several times in Too Much Sleep where I laughed, heartily, out loud. For the most part, the film comes off like a pleasant doodle in the air, but it also leaves you with a bit of a letdown -- it drifts off the screen when it's over, but you still have a nagging feeling that you want to get something more out of it.

Written and
Directed by:

David Maquiling

Starring:
Marc Palmieri
Pasquale Gaeta
Nicol Zanzarella

Rated:
Not Rated
This film has not 
yet been rated.

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