Indeed, after admitting at the outset that he’s a loser, the dour, pasty-faced, ratty-apartment-dwelling Lloyd Meadows (McManus) further confesses that he became a private investigator because it seemed like “something romantic without the hassles of actual romance.” Despite the lack of confidence he inspires, he nonetheless gets a gig from a neurotic blonde, Jane Danforth (Ellen Goldwasser), who needs Lloyd to get the goods on her cheating husband, high-minded homeless-shelter worker Peter (Pablo Bryant).
To get close to Peter, Lloyd poses as a homeless fellow, which isn’t much of a stretch, and he ultimately produces a video of Peter involved in some particularly unseemly activity with one of his charges. He also goes well beyond the limits of professional ethics by bugging Peter and Jane’s house, the better to eavesdrop on their private arguments.
Before it’s all over, Lloyd finds out more than anyone involved could possibly have wanted to know, and reconfirms his status as a major-league sap by becoming too personally involved in his case.
Sluggish pic is wallpapered by depressive, self-deprecating commentary from Lloyd, and while the characters and situations are not remotely involving, some of the writing in the stretches of sustained dialogue isn’t bad. The direction and $165,000 budget don’t begin to permit the creation of a seductively noirish visual style, so what mood the film does possess stems largely from Jean-Michel Michenaud’s flavorsome jazz score. Performances are not alluring.