Revelation Perth International Film Festival – Pictures of Superheroes review

Pictures of Superheroes

By Simon Miraudo
July 5, 2013

With his debut feature film, Pictures of Superheroes, writer-director Don Swaynos emerges with a fully formed comedic voice, if not a fully formed screenplay. Ably assisted by a winning cast, he inspires a great number of laughs over the flick’s swift 70 minute running time. Though, for a movie that barely ticks past the hour, it does a whole lot of ambling. I see a lot of promise here; promise that may be better suited to the world of single-camera television comedy, where a sit-com length plot need not be stretched out to four times its natural state.

Kerri Lendo is a sardonic revelation as Marie, an aimless maid fired from her job in the opening moments, and unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend Phil (Byron Brown) moments later. When work-obsessed businessman Eric (Shannon McCormack) spots Marie walking by in her work outfit – a sit-com contrivance we’ll forgive – he literally hires her off the street to clean his house. Someone keeps messing it up, and he’s not sure whom. Marie figures it out immediately: it’s his housemate, Joe (John Merriman), a Zack Galifianakis-esque figure that Eric has bizarrely ignored since college, despite having lived with him all that time.

The singular conflict imposed upon these characters is torn straight from the Three’s Company playbook: Eric needs Marie to pose as his wife, lest his homophobic client suspect him of being gay (perhaps accurately). We’re not really that invested in the outcome of these shenanigans, and neither, I suspect, is Swaynos, who devilishly undercuts the climax of this story thread. It does, however, put the beleaguered Marie in increasingly uncomfortable situations, allowing Lendo the opportunity to show off her lackadaisical comedic talents. There is an alternate universe where Aubrey Plaza plays this role, and not necessarily to greater effect.

Pictures of Superheroes veers into the absurd in the final act, after merely flirting with it prior. It’s a smooth transition. Swaynos has a firm grasp of tone, and plenty of amusing gags under his belt. But gags they are; jokey-jokes undeniably crafted by a writer, as opposed to amusing things that roll off the tongues of real characters. The all-seeing eye of IMDB reveals that the talent behind this film has recently completed something called The Horrible Life of Dr. Ghoul. I look forward to seeing it. Pictures of Superheroes comes close to being something truly special.

3/5

Check out Simon Miraudo’s other reviews here.

Pictures of Superheroes plays the Revelation Perth International Film Festival July 5, 6, and 11, 2013.

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