Review: ‘Americatown’

Americatown" unfolds in an archetypal small burg that surreally encompasses virtually every national landmark.

The brainchild of Upright Citizens Brigade alumni Jonathan Guggenheim and Cory Howard, aka “Superkiiids,” loose sketch comedy “Americatown” unfolds in an archetypal small burg that surreally encompasses virtually every national landmark, from the Grand Canyon to Niagara Falls. Strictly for fans of free-form, DIY hit-or-miss humor (and those who prefer a miss to a hit), pic complacently parades its alienated amateurism in the mistaken belief that half a gag is better than none. It opens today at Gotham’s ReRun Gastropub Theater.

Helmer Kenneth Price ably delivers the troupe’s gags, which frequently play with format (continuity-defying back projections, violations of split-screen), displaying a visual sharpness missing from the film’s slapdash social critiques. Pic finds some focus in its depiction of hysterical paranoia, as the town suffers from epidemics of spilled coffee and plagues of ants in the pants. Generally, though, “Americatown” throws together cliched aphorisms and images in an attempt at absurdism. Unlike other practitioners of the metagag, such as David Cross and Bob Odenkirk of “Mr. Show,” these children of YouTube try too hard to be endearing rather than purely edgy in their ridiculousness.



A Mobius Films production. Directed by Kenneth Price. Screenplay, Jonathan Guggenheim, Cory Howard, Price. Music, Seth Moody; production designer, Chad Keith. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Jan. 2, 2011. Running time: 75 MIN.


Jonathan Guggenheim, Cory Howard, Jon Stafford, Barbara Weetman.
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