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Posted November 19, 2008 in Film

“Most of us can’t be unique or important in a meaningful way,” concedes Les (Michael Rapaport), an LA parking enforcement officer whose life is a spirit-crushing void of insults, microwave dinners, and emasculation from a boss who forces him to repeat the mantra “I am important and I keep the city running.” When Les enlists in a pharmaceutical trial for a pill that promises to erase self-doubt, he’s ecstatic at the side-effects—flight, telepathy, and teleportation, the perfect ingredients to upgrade from a zero to a crime-fighting hero. By reading minds, Les prevents robberies by preemptively tackling the perps; on camera (and to local newscasters and police) he looks like the aggressor, and we too tentatively come to suspect that our vigilante might in fact be insane. Shot for pennies—a cash limitation that benefits the production’s creativity and credibility—writer-directors Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore’s haunting film keeps shifting the ground under our feet as Les ricochets between two sets of brothers, the comic-shop geeks (Josh Peck and Robert Baker) who are his closest thing to friends, and the moneyed corporate cretins (Paul Blackthorne and Ian Bohen) who want to keep Les from ruining their investment in the new wonderdrug. Rapaport is great casting—6’4” and wild-eyed, he’s so big, intense, and earnestly vulnerable that we’re never sure if their wary reactions to him spring from a belief in his powers, or that he might just go nuts on them anyway. When Blackthorne, the nastiest of the two, tries to reduce Les to sniveling that he’s a nobody, like him, we ball up our fists. And later when Les wrestles with the option of flushing his medicine, this memorable and smart noir suggests that a humble man’s real superpower is the ability to endure. (Amy Nicholson)

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