Lifelong loser Ulysses Lovin (Travis Swartz) discovers a coded message hidden in the pages of the self-help book 6 Dynamic Laws for Success (In Life, Love & Money) purportedly revealing the location of 2.4 million dollars from a robbery gone bad. However, he soon discovers he’s not the only one after the cash, and that the road to riches and self-improvement is congested with angry ex’s, accidental murders, and non-sequitur love at first sight. Ulysses examines his life as he works his way through solving the cypher. Along the way he’s inspired to apply the pop psychology of the book to analyze what went wrong for him.
The movie is rolled out in sections titled with the six eponymous self-help platitudes. The plot is overly convoluted. The film takes too long to set up all the characters and threads and the B plot with two sisters chasing Ulysses is pointless and confusing. In keeping with the classic films it’s sending up, the pace is slow, but in 2018 that pace is yawn inducing. While you’re scratching your head over the plot the film drags: this gets old very quickly.
“The absurdity and the noir banter combine into a Lynchian high weirdness mix…“
Black and white in Indie film has become a gimmicky and pretentious signature at this point, but director Gregory Bayne uses it here to great effect to maximize his production value and give the film an interesting noir patina. Even though the newspaper headlines say Idaho (where the film was shot) the classic style lends a timeless “middle America” flexibility to when and where it takes place. The absurdity and the noir banter combine into a Lynchian high weirdness mix of the familiar plus the strange.
Goofy fun for a rainy afternoon though you may have to work to follow along. Great score by Ryan Bayne, the music is a treat.
6 Dynamic Laws for Success (in Life, Love & Money) (2017) Written and directed by Gregory Bayne. Starring Travis Swartz, Jennifer Lafleur, Sara Lynch.
6 out of 10