Produced, directed by Gabe Weisert. Screenplay, John Reichmuth, James Reichmuth, Weisert, William Birdthistle. Fishing With Gandhi” is yet another shaggy, improv-based Amerindie road comedy — albeit one worth stifling that automatic groan over. Slight but often very funny, pic doesn’t let the absence of substance (or much plot) get in the way of its refreshing eccentricity. Fringe theatrical slots are possible for a feature that’s a sharp calling card for all concerned.
Having just left the Seattle wedding of his widowed mother to the brother of her late husband, understandably somber twentysomething Danno (Dan Klein) has skipped the bus in favor of hitchhiking back home to San Francisco. He’s wound up in a truck driven — when it doesn’t overheat, as it very often does — by two yokel twins, Gil (John Reichmuth) and Roy (James Reichmuth).
Brain damage (hereditary or pratfall-caused) seems to run in their family, explaining the nonstop drool of nonsense that tumbles out of their slack jaws.
While Danno slowly moves from struck-mute incredulousness to a certain awed appreciation for his inbred companions during various bucolic road stops, his S.F. flatmates sink neck-deep in urban neurosis. Disheveled Stephen (Gabe Weisert) seems to live on the permanent panic-attack edge, a state not helped by Giles’ (William Birdthistle) pretentious bitchiness.
Expecting Danno’s return this night, Stephen and Giles plan a homecoming potluck. But the only guests they invite — reluctantly — are very-tightly-wound Bronte (Christina Milano), who’s given to scarifying remarks like “I’m fine! I’m hovering above the pain right now!”; and jockish Chris (Dan Hunt), whose aggressive friendliness hides insecurity and a mean right hook.
Recalling such indie-comedy prototypes as “Stranger Than Paradise” and “Slacker,” “Fishing” floats more on off-the-cuff attitude than clever situations , punch lines or narrative structure. But the perfectly tuned,deadpan performances and scene rhythms suggest a sureness of purpose far from the characters’ cluelessness. While brief flashbacks go for broader effects, most often pic accrues hilarity just from the going-nowhere, saying-nothing-in-particular weirdness of its protags. Actual twins and co-scenarists (along with Weisert and Birdthistle) John and James Reichmuth are especially inspired as the backwoods Tweedledee & Tweedledum.
The feature makes a virtue out of its slim budget, cannily intercutting between static (but attractively lensed) shots; set decoration and costume design for the S.F. characters deftly ridicule thrift shop hipster aesthetics.