DVD Review: Kabluey
Hey, Hey, kids! No spoilers below!
Dressed in a blue corporate mascot costume, Salman (Scott Prendergast) stumbles around listlessly advertising office rental space and comes to realize that he’s trapped, not only in the suit, but by his way of life. He’s been fired from several jobs and has had to move in with his sister in-law (Lisa Kudrow) to help her with her children; her husband (his brother) is fighting in Iraq with the armed forces. He’s a grown man, but not quite because he’s living an extended childhood by relying on everyone’s sympathy and charity.
Things begin to change for Salman when he dons his blue suit because people recognize him and even enjoy his company. This Jekyll and Hyde transformation sets up an emotional coming-of-age story and some bone-dry humor.
The trailers for this film are highly misleading because they focus on the absurd sections of the film and paint a picture that this is a pure comedy. With these expectations, I was surprised by what unfolded, a drama with deliberate pacing and plot development. After recovering from my initial disappointment, I bought into it and started to like that it for what it was.
Much of the humor is found in Salman’s deadpan reactions and timid speech. His bashful personality leads him into many painfully awkward situations, but they all have a thread of kindness as a lifeline from being too repellent.
Writer-director-star Scott Prendergast uses the stark environment of a small “every-town” to heighten the sense of isolation. Salman is a weird guy to begin with and it gets much worse when he enters the microcosm of the closely knit community.
The supporting cast came up huge in the film to drive the story forward. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a loud-mouthed, womanizer is perfect casting and his dialog is the most quotable in the film. Lisa Kudrow delivers an emotionally complex performance as the lonely sister-in-law. Some may call her bitchy, but given the circumstances, she’s over-worked and under-appreciated, her reactions are understandable.
Even though I came into this film thinking comedy, the deeper story did grab and hold me. I enjoyed seeing Salman’s evolution into a more complete character, though the ending is a left to our imagination. Ultimately, the film was better than I would have thought and I liked it a lot.