Devised as a mock public education film about the dangers of masturbation, "The Trouble With Lou" offers 45 minutes or so of ribald hilarity before running out of steam. And while no movie with this subject matter seems likely to enjoy much mainstream (or critical) success, "Lou" could become a minor midnight-movie fave on the fest circuit.

Devised as a mock-1950s public education film about the dangers of masturbation, “The Trouble With Lou” offers 45 minutes or so of uninterrupted, ribald hilarity before running out of steam (or, perhaps, more appropriately, petering out) in the second half. And while no movie with this subject matter seems likely to enjoy much mainstream (or critical) success, “Lou” could become a minor midnight-movie fave on the fest circuit.

The real discovery here is the deliriously rubber-faced comic Lou Romano, who plays both the title character and his father — who sometimes appear together in a scene — creating two distinct, hilarious characterizations. Director Gregor and co-screenwriter Teddy Newton demonstrate an effortless grasp of both the period and the genre, lampooning the hypocritical social paranoia of such films and lacing their dialogue with deliciously subversive double entendres. Peter Krajewski’s high-key, black-and-white lensing is also spot-on. But the ultimate trouble with “The Trouble With Lou” is that none of the films it seeks to parody run nearly this long. Third act in particular is labored and unnecessary.

The Trouble with Lou

Production

Produced by Teddy Newton. Directed by Gregor. Screenplay, Newton, Gregor.

Crew

Camera (B&W, 16mm), Peter Krajewski; editors, Nate Pacheco, Gregor; music, Ted Robledo; production designer, Travis Stobbe; costume designer, Courtney Fowles. Reviewed at Slamdance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 21, 2001. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Lou Romano, Katheryn Cain, Tom Winkler, Michelle Maaske, Donne McRea, Michael Ambrosini.
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