Vaguely drawn characters are given twee treatment in “Shag-Carpet Sunset,” an attempt to delineate Northwest youth culture that feels about 10 years too late. If best moments were consolidated in a 20-minute short, helmer Ben McAllister would have a nice-and-fuzzy calling card to use toward a more focused effort.
Threadbare tale centers on Puckish Tuck (Duke Novak), who does a puppet show with pal Doug (Adam Greenfield) on local cable-access station. When show is canceled, or falls apart, or whatever, Tuck is forced to look at the emptiness of his life. So are we. Mostly, it resembles the bleaker rooftops, sidewalks and freeway overpasses of Seattle, shot in murky black-and-white that, at its best, approaches a kind of urban lyricism. Some of the color segs, such as improvised puppet vignettes, are enjoyable for visual contrast, but are marred by irritating moire patterns, underlining pic’s secondhand qualities. Storyline, much like Tuck’s fixation on a bespectacled would-be g.f. (Mara Hesed), goes nowhere, slowly. Realistic conversations, by the way, might be more compelling than the faux-sitcom chatter currently favored by DV-wielders everywhere.