Thursday, June 24, 2021

Anxious for laughs? Look for 'Too Late' right now and run 'Marathon' later

A deliciously named character, Bob Devore, headlines the similarly well-titled "Too Late," and that's all anyone really needs to know about this low-budget, lotta-fun horror/comedy.

If forced to continue, though, I would warn against working for someone who keeps harping about "the dark of the moon" or even managing a comedy club, where a few of the comics are so lousy that they're almost scary in their own right.

Sparkling newcomer Alyssa Limperis plays the crazily heroic Violet, who actually is the assistant to whack-job boss Devore AND books talent for his low-rent cafe, among other wild and wooly things.

Though SNL-standout Fred Armisen pops in and out, and Mary Lynn Rajskub (most notably from "24") makes an extended cameo, a gaggle of LA-based performers -- including Will Weldon, Jenny Zigrino and Jack De Sena -- help Limperis steal much of the quick-moving show created by wife/husband D.W. Thomas (director) and Tom Becker (screenwriter).

Oh yeah, the aforementioned Devore is played by Ron Lynch, himself a stand-up comic, talk-show host and voice artist who acts like all three while, uh . . . at least attempting to chew up scenery.

(Some select theaters are showing it starting Friday, but if you're "Too Late," try just about any digital platform or major cable/satellite service.)

Not rated by MPAA: (it likely depends on taste and how you digest what goes on here anyway); 1:21; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

While we're talking comedy, perhaps an even more laugh-filled ride, "Marathon," takes a leap at mockumentary filmmaking and Devil's Canyon, the fictitious site for a desert race where five long-distance "amateurs" truly dish and squeeze out every sense of that word.

Keith Strausbaugh and Anthony Guidubaldi write, direct and edit under the banner of Hot Tub Mimosas so you know these guys get a kick out of life. In fact, assembling their ensemble in Las Vegas -- and getting to choose from among comedy-heavy venues such as Cirque du Soleil, Absinthe, Second City, Blue Man Group and Uptight Citizens Brigade (in L.A.) -- must have been a real hoot, too. 

I mean, their cast is a genuine gas and mostly unknown as well, although you might pick out a face or two you've seen here or there or maybe on a wall at the post office.

Seriously, folks, let's meet the runners: There's Ryan (Andrew Hansen), who thinks he's Boston Marathon caliber (but isn't even close); Jenna (Natalie Sullivan), with her sights set on breaking the marathon record while being dressed as a fruit (maybe a top banana?); Abby (Anais Thomassian), entering primarily to get away from motherhood (and a cute baby boy who refuses to call her mama); Shareef (Tavius Cortez), wanting to show up his insolent, triathlete sister, but constantly getting chased by suspicious cops (because he's a Black man); and smart cookie Emilou (Kimia Behpoornia), with a real trick up her sleeve for all (which helps keep her hilarious throughout).

Honestly, just about every player -- from members of the ramshackle race staff to the inept and mostly unseen filmmakers -- is good for a chuckle or three. Goofy Ed Clap (Jimmy Slonina), the marathon founder and manager,  just could wind up with a sitcom of his own someday. He's that memorable.

(Catch up with "Marathon" -- starting July 7 -- only on VOD outlets everywhere.)  

Not rated by MPAA: (the easily offended might notice the few "F" bombs and those politically incorrect jabs that always occur in a good mock-doc); 1:22; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

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