Review: ‘A Man Is Mostly Water’

"A Man Is Mostly Water" is a modestly engaging ensemble comedy about characters dragging themselves out of ruts they dug for themselves. Multihyphenate Fred Parnes earns points for refusing to provide everyone with a neatly wrapped happy ending. And a few first-rate perfs brighten the mood as pic covers familiar ground.

A modestly engaging ensemble comedy about characters dragging themselves out of ruts they dug for themselves, “A Man Is Mostly Water” is on a par with similar small-budget indies that pad out the programs of small film festivals. Multihyphenate Fred Parnes earns points for refusing to provide everyone with a neatly wrapped happy ending. And a few first-rate perfs brighten the mood as pic covers familiar ground. Still, “Water” won’t reach its true level until it washes onto vidstore shelves.

Parnes (who helmed docu “Spread the Word: The Persuasions Sing A Cappella”) plays a filmmaker who can’t find a distrib for his nonfiction feature about blues artists. His pent-up rage alienates his lovely flutist girlfriend (Paulina Mielech). Meanwhile, next-door neighbor Andy (Chris Rydell) can’t make the grade as a saxophonist and, much to the consternation of his live-in sweetie (Heather Roop), spends most of his time getting stoned with buddy Jeff (Mark Curry), a commercial actor. Curry gets pic’s funniest lines as he exposes “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as the story of an exploited conformist. Bill Pullman appears fleetingly, to little purpose, as a rigorous enforcer of parking regulations.

A Man Is Mostly Water

Production

A Dog Park Prods. production. Produced by Libbie Chase, Fred Parnes. Directed, written by Fred Parnes.

Crew

Camera (FotoKem color), D. Alan Newman; editor, Kate Ahmed; production designer, Erik Mulet; music, Skip Heller; sound, Richard K. Allen; associate producers, Howard Parnes, Lee Toft. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, April 25, 2001. (In Palm Beach Film Festival.) Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Mark Curry, Michele Harris, Paulina Mielech, Fred Parnes, Heather Roop, Chris Rydell, Anton Yelchin, Richard Edson, Mark Rydell, Bill Pullman, Lou Rawls.
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