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By Phil Hall | August 11, 2004

“Rent-A-Person” is three or four different films packed into a 12 minute running time. Had attention been given to one story, it would’ve been priceless. But as it stands, it is both too much and too little.

This black-and-white movie opens in a Los Angeles restaurant men’s room where various acts of excretion and urinating are synced up to music. It is a vulgar but funny idea with obvious Monty Python inspirations, especially the chorus of men standing at urinals and singing into the camera.

But then the film hops into another track following a washroom attendant (James Haven, who is quite good) who scores a unique entrepreneurial notion: renting himself out as a passenger so single drivers can get out of the notorious freeway traffic and into the less-crowded carpool lanes (which are designed for cars with two or more passengers). The scheme works and soon a Rent-A-Person business is created, using homeless people who are cleaned up and recruited to be passengers for hire.

But then film skips into a labor dispute comedy with the workers demanding better pay, better working conditions and new girlfriends. A strike breaks out and the business is forced to close.

Then the film goes back to the washroom, where our now-broke hero is at his old job as an attendant. But love is only across the hall as the single girl who is the attendant in the ladies’ room catches his eye.

Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne has a lot of imagination and it is easy to predict this multi-talent (director, writer, editor, cinematographer and composer) will be a major force in films some day. The stories are great, but he never gives himself any time to let them develop naturally. Everything seems rushed, as if a new joke is being cooked up while an old joke isn’t even at its punch line peak. Had this been a feature, there would’ve been time for everything to progress naturally. Sadly, the short film format is too small for so much fun.

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