TREADING WATER

This comedy film from Analeine Cal y Mayor originally played on the festival circuit in 2013 under the title “The Boy Who Smells Like Fish.” And that is pretty much what the film is about: a young man born with a very rare disorder that gives him a distinctive piscine aroma. Following an infancy where endless applications of prescription soaps fail to offer any cure, he goes through his childhood as an outcast – he wears an automobile air freshener around his neck in a vain attempt to hide his smell – and his young adulthood seems to be doomed to a state of perpetual loneliness until an attractive girl with no concerns about his aroma comes into his life.

Too much of this film feels like a half-baked “Saturday Night Live” skit stretched to the fraying point, and attempts at surreal whimsy – most notably having the young man grow up in a museum dedicated to a flamboyant Mexican guitarist – is more strange than amusing. However, Douglas Smith as the fish-scented hero and Zoe Kravitz as the woman who thinks he smells just fine bring enough charm and personality to float this slight comedy into an entertaining diversion.

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