A low-key, offbeat comedy, “Too Much Sleep,” David Maquiling’s feature directorial debut, concerns the comic misadventures of a passive security guard living in a dormant American suburb who’s forced to take control of his life under the most bizarre circumstances. Though sporadically charming and nicely played by lead Marc Palmieri, the narrative is so slight that it would have worked better as a short. In its current form, pic doesn’t have enough to offer paying patrons, but will likely travel the regional fest road.
Set in an unnamed ‘burb, story revolves around Jack Crawford (Palmieri), a handsome young man who, domineered by his mom, spends most of his time alone in his room. As a security guard for a big company, Jack works mostly night shifts, sleeping during the day.
One day, riding on a bus, he becomes transfixed by a beautiful woman, Kate (Nicol Zanzarella), who responds to his look. Shortly after she gets off the bus, Jack realizes his handgun, which was wrapped in a brown paper bag, is gone.
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Did he lose the gun or did Kate steal it? That’s the thematic thread — and one idea — around which the narrative is built.
Structured as a road comedy with occasionally dark overtones, Jack’s search propels him deeper and deeper into the absurd underworld of a supposedly quiet small town. Maquiling, who also scripted, obviously draws on a tradition of movies — from David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” to Stacy Cochran’s “My New Gun” — that explore the rich, perverse world lurking beneath seemingly quiet, ordinary lives.
Among the more interesting and funny interactions are those with a man (Pasquale Gaeta) who owns a deli, talks nonstop and pretends to be an expert on every issue that comes up. The interaction between this unlikely couple recalls scenes between Seymour Cassel and Steve Buscemi in “In the Soup” and Jason Priestley and Peter Riegert in “Coldblooded.”
The whole point of “Too Much Sleep” is to delay resolution of the missing-gun mystery and, for a while, pic sustains interest. But the material is slender, the characters not sufficiently engaging or eccentric for a feature-length movie.
Production values are above average, particularly Robert Mowen’s clean, uncluttered lensing and efficient editing by Jim Villone.