In stark contrast to his first feature, gross-out teen comedy “Large” (2002), writer-director Justin Edgar’s soph outing, “Special People,” is an understated comedy of manners with more potential than is ever let out of the bag. Too small for theatrical, pic still shows Edgar has enough filmmaking smarts, if he can get the balance right next time. Midrange fests could give this some exposure.
Heavily channeling comic Steve Coogan, co-writer Dominic Coleman plays condescending Jasper, a failed director trying to teach a film course to a huge class of three wheelchair-bound kids: spiky Jess (Robyn Frampton), wannabe auteur Scott (David Proud) and Cockney criminal Dave (Jason Maza). Jasper proposes an outing to make their own vidmovie, featuring Jess struggling up a hill in her wheelchair as a metaphor for her everyday life. Day-long shoot is a predictable fiasco. An expansion of Edgar’s same-titled 2005 short, pic draws good perfs from its young cast but sometimes seems constrained by the very political correctness it wants to send up, limiting chances for humor. Kim Humphrey’s perky score adds a professional gloss to the low-budget proceedings, and Mark Burgess’ editing is also pro.