The title Bad Assistant may believe one to think the movie is about an incompetent secretary or a really mean personal assistant, or some variation on those ideas. While those notions are understandable, they are also inaccurate. Instead, the Kyle Cogan directed short follows a very fastidious and good assistant, who is then put into a very compromising position.
Emilee (Paige Klone) thinks far enough ahead to bring burritos for the hungover, possibly still drunk, Parker St. Garrett (Jason Schwartzman). She’s the personal assistant to the demanding, washed-up actor, and upon arrival this morning, Emilee discovers that during the party last night, he and his friends moved the tree into the pool.
After a brief chat about moved meetings and missed texts, the two decide to wake up Patrick’s best friend, Sexual Jay (Cooper Johnson). When entering one of the guest rooms he is passed out in, Emilee discovers that Jay is deceased. In a panic, Patrick convinces Emilee to help him move the dead body to Jay’s house. Thus when he is found, it’ll just be assumed that a junkie died in his own home.
“…Patrick convinces Emilee to help him move the dead body to Jay’s house.”
Rachel Forman’s script, from a story idea by Klone, is darkly funny. About halfway through the voyage to Jay’s place, not-all-there actor demands that Emilee pull the car over. She does, and he gets out of the car, opens the trunk, and gets face-to-face with the dead man. It is as absurd as it is hysterically morbid. The way Bad Assistant wraps up absolutely works and is a wee bit sad.
Schwartzman is a lot of fun as Patrick St. Garrett. Schwartzman’s delivery when telling his assistant that she needs to call him to tell him that he has an email or text is hysterical. Klone absolutely owns her part. As Emilee, she instantly gets the audience on her side just by asking rational questions (i.e., a tree in the pool). When having to scold Patrick for behaving in a child-like manner, she still showcases a certain sweetness towards her client.
The long and short of it is that Bad Assistant sets out to be a wickedly humorous little film, and it succeeds. With a dash of absurdism and a pinch of drama for good measure, you are left with an engrossing story. Add in the excellent cast and strong direction, and that’s a recipe for a compelling, entertaining, and funny movie.
Bad Assistant screened at the 2020 Annapolis Film Festival.