The third feature from Austin, Texas’ Zellner Bros., “Goliath” is an exercise in deadpan comic minimalism that feels a tad overstretched even at its short running time. The following that the duo has accrued from their well-received shorts and 1991’s sometimes hilariously daft “Plastic Utopia” should attract some fest programmers and DVD sales. Theatrical exposure, however, is a longshot.

Nameless protag (David Zellner) is not having a good day, year, or life. He’s finalizing an acrimonious divorce (from a fuming Caroline O’Connor as Abby), and his supervisors at work have abruptly demoted him. The final straw is finding out that his beloved cat Goliath has gone missing. After posting reward signs around his nondescript suburbia neighborhood, he’s told there’s a registered sexual offender now living in the area. Once Goliath turns up — as roadkill — our impotent milquetoast hero irrationally decides the pathetic erstwhile perp (Nathan Z.) must have deliberately murdered his kitty. This leads to a rather unpleasant physical confrontation, followed by redemptively sweet denouement. Nicely handled microbudget prod is droll, occasionally laugh-out-loud, but, in the end, the material just feels too thin.

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  • Production: A Zellner Bros. production. Produced by Nathan Zellner. Directed by David Zellner, Nathan Zellner. Screenplay, David Zellner.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD cam), Jim Eastburn; music, Rene Jones-Jones; production designers, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 22, 2008. Running time: 78 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Caroline O'Connor, John Bryant, Andrew Bujalski, Wiley Wiggins.
  • Music By: