The Clapper

In Dito Montiel’s The Clapper Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) and his friend Chris (Tracy Morgan) get paid to clap and look on in amazement as infomercial audience members gobsmacked at the marvels of whatever new slap-chop floor wax/dessert topping is being hawked. 

“…notices that Eddie is in all the infomercials and sets his fans on a search for The Clapper.”

Eddie is down on his luck and only has the company of his friend Chris. They are grumpy but satisfied bumping along the bottom of life among the costumed characters on Hollywood Boulevard going from one infomercial to the next, trying to obfuscate their identities so it’s not obvious that all the shows have the same audience. They live an American Splendor kind of existence. Eddie even starts a sorta relationship with Judy (Amanda Seyfried) at the gas station. It all goes pear-shaped when a salacious low-rent talk show host played by Russell Peters notices that Eddie appears in so many infomercials and sets his fans on a search for The Clapper.

I like Ed Helms. He’s not a terribly versatile actor, at least that we’ve seen, but that thing he does, he does really well, which is to be an Everyman constantly outraged and agog at the world’s insanity, the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. This quality makes him perfect as a credulous clapper and made him the most entertaining character (OK, except Mr. Chow) in The Hangover movies. Tracy Morgan steals the scenes he’s in. Chris is maybe not so smart but always loyal to Eddie and sweet in his wrongheaded intensity. He’s someone you’d love to hang out with, just don’t let him do your taxes. 

Alan Thicke makes his last appearance on film playing himself as the cynical celebrity infomercial host. Not sure he was acting, but it’s good to see him one last time.

 

” …you’ll be delighted to see the one eyed pig and the one horned goat.”

The style and setting calls back Harvey Pekar and Toby Ratliff. I expect shade will be thrown because of the film’s low ambition, and it truly is (intentionally?) sloppy and doesn’t have great production values, but the benchmark for stories is whether they can touch an audience and The Clapper does. You will care about Judy with the mousy hair and Chris and Eddie and you’ll be delighted to see the one-eyed pig and the one-horned goat.

The Clapper (2018) Written and directed by Dito Montiel. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Ed Helms, Leah Remini, Tracy Morgan. In select theaters and on VOD January 26th.

6 out of 10

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