You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alter Egos

Superpowered with silliness, "Alter Egos" is a comedy about second-string heroes, but has a first-rate sense of humor thanks to a wry script by helmer Jordan Galland, making up for what he lacks in visual style with frequently sharp comedic dialogue.

With: Kris Lemche, Brooke Nevin, Joey Kern, John Ventimiglia, Danny Masterson, Christine Evangelista.

Superpowered with silliness, “Alter Egos” is a comedy about second-string heroes, but has a first-rate sense of humor thanks to a wry script by helmer Jordan Galland, making up for what he lacks in visual style with frequently sharp comedic dialogue. The very idea of a low-budget superhero movie is a pretty good gag, but the film is best when it forgets the comicbook stuff and concentrates on its screwy characters, who don’t necessarily need capes and tights to whip up a laugh. Possibilities seem limited, but this is a solid showcase for the talents involved.

Taking a page from “The Incredibles” and “Mystery Men,” this sophomore feature by Galland (2009’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead”) places its beleaguered superheroes in a world where public opinion has turned against them. Their standards have definitely dropped: Unlike Superman, who had multiple Metropolis-sized powers, C-Thru (Joey Kern) has only X-ray vision. His pal, Fridge (Kris Lemche), shoots ice out of his hands, which is of limited use unless you’re a bartender. But at least they’ve met the qualifications of Superhero Corps, a kind of trade-union-in-tights led by the unseen Captain Amazingness.

And in a world where everyone seems to have some kind of unearthly gift, they’re luckier than most. When Fridge arrives in the Hamptons to rendezvous with C-Thru and execute a top-secret Corps assignment, one of the first people he meets is Jimmy the Cop (Danny Masterson) who doesn’t take kindly to superheroes: Jimmy’s gift is being able to turn invisible — but only for 2.3 seconds at a time. His comings and goings are exploited for maximum laughs, but the whole situation has him in a bad mood. It doesn’t help matters when Fridge starts clicking with hotel manager Claudel (Brooke Nevin), with whom the married Jimmy is having an affair.

Fridge, meanwhile, has his own romantic complications: When he isn’t being Fridge, he’s being Brendan, whose girlfriend, Emily (Christine Evangelista), is having her own illicit affair — with Fridge. There’s nothing Brendan/Fridge can do but break up with Emily. She doesn’t quite see it that way.

The combination of superheroes and sitcom is consistently funny. Where “Alter Egos” goes off the rails, ironically, is when it tries to be a comicbook movie: Shrink (John Ventimiglia), the arch-evildoer who killed Fridge’s parents, is locked up in one of Claudel’s hotel rooms, inspiring an extended sequence that lifts a bit from every superhero origin story ever written. It feels as though Galland is killing time, or just giving Ventimiglia something to do.

Tech credits are good, if deliberately low-rent. The Hamptons (apparently used off-season) are underpopulated, the shooting style is anti-blockbuster, and Carisa Kelly’s costumes are inherently cheesy/hilarious. Sean Lennon, who composed the score, does a nice job of infusing a pop sensibility with just a lilt of John Williams, fitting the mixed sensibility of “Alter Egos” to a T.

Alter Egos

Production: A Phase 4 presentation of a Gallard-Velazquez/Attic Light Films/Farah Films production in association with Off Hollywood Pictures and Cloud 9 Film Partners. Produced by Dan Farah, Milan Chakraborty, Carlos Velazquez, Jordan Galland. Executive producers, Ed McWilliams, Doug Weiser. Directed, written by Jordan Galland.

Crew: Camera (color), Chris LaVasseur; editor, Dan Schecter; music, Sean Lennon; music supervisor, Jonathan Leahy; production designer, Lucio Seixas; art director, Matthew Arrow; costume designer, Carisa Kelly; sound, Joshua Hilson; re-recording mixer, Matthew Polis; assistant director, Ryan Dearth; line producers, Milan Chakraborty, Carlos Velazquez; associate producers, Isaac Lefevre, Dearth; casting, Eve Battaglia. Reviewed at Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal, July 24, 2012. Running time: 79 MIN.

Cast: With: Kris Lemche, Brooke Nevin, Joey Kern, John Ventimiglia, Danny Masterson, Christine Evangelista.

More Scene

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

  • Gerard Butler, Haim Saban and Cheryl

    Why Haim and Cheryl Saban's $50 Million Donation to Academy Museum Almost Didn't Happen

    Haim and Cheryl Saban’s $50 million donation has landed them their name on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, but the billionaire philanthropists’ contribution to the project almost didn’t happen. During Tuesday’s unveiling of the restored exterior of the new Saban Building (formerly the historic May Company department [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content