Clea DuVall’s deadpan, put-upon heroine gives a considerable lift to “See Jane Run,” an otherwise energetic but thin stab at medium-black comedy from debuting feature writer-helmer Sarah Thorp. Offbeat, androgynous charisma that young thesp showed in “But I’m a Cheerleader” and “The Faculty” easily carries pic. That’s fortunate, since the silly string of everyday indignities and stupid people Jane endures are hardly funny, original or deep enough to sustain interest on their own. Decently handled low-budgeter looks likeliest to find an audience via tape and possible cable sales.
Jane’s (DuVall) life already seems to have hit several brick walls at age 24 or so. Her flatmates, a would-be actress (Jennifer Aspen) and a blocked writer (Richmond Arquette), are idiots; a musician (Judson Mills) is the latest in a long line of loser boyfriends; Jane’s job as a waitress at a diner is a humiliating dead end.
Her biggest problem, however, is succinctly spelled out to oft-visiting bug exterminator Frank (Kevin Corrigan): “I keep trying to kill myself, but I keep getting interrupted.” Jane’s spirits are temporarily lifted when handgun possession suggests her true “calling” as an armed robber. But this excitement, too, soon palls.
At last she impulsively abducts a Hollywood bigwig (Stanley DeSantis). Pat ending finds her chucking the ugly big city for Wyoming’s underpopulated, wide open spaces.
Pic’s catalog of petty indignities and whimsical revenge fantasies add up to a sort of Nihilism Lite. This tack might work with brighter lines, more genuinely eccentric characters and wilder situations. Surrounded by morons, it’s no wonder Jane is depressed — but we never glean how she got to this point, or why she doesn’t just cut the offending ties.
Nonetheless, DuVall’s chain-smoking, perennially unimpressed protag compels interest, her dour yet droll turn providing a firm center around which sillier characters and circumstances revolve.
Lively if seldom inspired, pic is reasonably brisk, using diverse staging/editorial tactics (sometimes verging on musicvid-style filler) to maintain an air of playful quasi-stream-of-consciousness. Slightly washed-out lensing abets portrait of low-rung L.A. life far removed from industry glamour; plenty of alt-rock tunes (by Ween, Morphine, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Veruca Salt) amplify Jane’s riot-grrl-seeking-riot bad attitude.