Once auds get past the amusing notion that DIY directors have groupies, all that remains is another grubby-looking, squirm-inducing indie in which things seem to hit too close to home for writer-director-star Alex Karpovsky.

Following up his barely released “Woodpecker” with the similarly fringe-interest “Red Flag,” Alex Karpovsky picks at a navel better left ungazed, playing a self-absorbed DIY director who ill-advisedly hooks up with a clingy stranger (Jennifer Prediger) while taking his film on the road. Once auds get past the amusing notion that such directors have groupies, all that remains is another grubby-looking, squirm-inducing indie in which things seem to hit too close to home (for the helmer, who alternates awkward moments with actual stops from his “Woodpecker” screening tour), spelling minimal demand for this VOD-driven offering.

Appeal is probably the wrong word for what Karpovsky brings to the screen, yet the actor has been a key draw in the discomfort-food movement known as mumblecore, where improvised outlines pass as scripts and technique seems anathema. There’s a reason creepy character actors seldom play lead, and Karpovsky’s amusingly off-kilter quality is better suited to the background, while Prediger (as the stranger he desperately wants to ditch, lest his ex-g.f. discover his infidelity) has the makings of an indie star. The intermittently insightful comedy features affable support from Onur Tukel as a bearded weirdo.

Red Flag

Production

A Tribeca Film release presented in association with American Express. Produced by Michael Bowes, Alex Karpovsky. Directed, written by Alex Karpovsky.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Adam Ginsberg; editor, Gerald D. Rossini; music, Teddy Blanks; sound, Gene Park. Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival (competing), June 15, 2012. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Alex Karpovsky, Onur Tukel, Jennifer Prediger, Caroline White, Keith Poulson, Dustin Guy Defa, Evonne Walton.

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