Somebodies

More entrepreneurial than artistic, writer-director-star Hadjii's first feature "Somebodies" adds up to little more than a series of uninspired skits untethered to any thematic or narrative substance. Exceedingly mild comedy about African-American college students in Athens, Ga., has some laughs, but character depth, story development and filmic style are all close to nil, and production values just a hair above amateur.

Cast:
With: Hadjii, Kaira Whitehead, Tyler Craig, Carlos Davis, Patt Brown, David "Nick" Lewis, IronE Singleton, Nard Holston.

More entrepreneurial than artistic, writer-director-star Hadjii’s first feature “Somebodies” adds up to little more than a series of uninspired skits untethered to any thematic or narrative substance. Exceedingly mild comedy about African-American college students in Athens, Ga., has some laughs, but character depth, story development and filmic style are all close to nil, and production values just a hair above amateur. Looked on as a university project (Hadjii teaches at U. of Georgia, and most extras look like students), it’s OK, but “Somebodies” is awfully trifling stuff for the Dramatic Competition at Sundance. Minor small-screen sales are possible.

Scottie (Hadjii) is studying –what, we never find out — at college and shares a house with four friends. They party a lot, but after nearly getting arrested for DUI and becoming involved with a born-again nymphomaniac (Kaira Whitehead), Scottie makes reluctant stabs at sobriety and celibacy. Scenes sending up adult-literacy programs, “Scared Straight” prison ones, nerdy white and boisterous black churches, and those featuring the protag’s Klumps-like older relations, sport some funny dialogue and OK situations. But perfs tend toward shrill, pic’s look is drab — and “Somebodies” remains stubbornly inconsequential.

Somebodies

Production: A Kohn/Kohn production. Produced by Pamela and Nathaniel Kohn. Executive producers, William Keys, Ben Fuller, Dale Davis, Skeet Willingham, Lee Epting, Eugene Younts, Michell L. Davis. Directed, written by Hadjii.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Ousama Rawi; editor, Eric O. Schusterman; music, Paul Grabowsky; production designer, Andy Rusk. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 21, 2006. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Hadjii, Kaira Whitehead, Tyler Craig, Carlos Davis, Patt Brown, David "Nick" Lewis, IronE Singleton, Nard Holston.

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