A cute idea gets uneven treatment in Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin’s amusingly titled debut, “Now, Forager: A Film About Love and Fungi.” A lack of dramatic force and zero chemistry between the leads make the film play like a compilation of episodes rather than a flowing narrative, but two sequences are inspired, and the rest has an earnest if underwhelming appeal. Refreshingly devoid of the romantic glow emanating from most foodie pics, “Forager” presents a mycological marriage in decline without going for the cliches. Fests showcasing indie fare could add this low-budgeter to the menu.
Married mushroom pickers Lucien (co-helmer/scripter Cortlund) and Regina (Tiffany Esteb) are in crisis: He’s happy continuing their itinerant life, while she craves stability. When she takes a job as a prep chef, he heads south looking for fungi to sell to restaurants. A one-off stint as caterer for Republican faux-foodie April (Gabrielle Maisels) is a hoot, as is a scene in which Regina gets a job at a Rhode Island “Basque” diner (the “meat babies” are priceless). No-frills digital quality can’t capture the autumnal colors, but why ask for truffles when we have chanterelles?