The Mimic, starring Thomas Sadoski, of The Newsroom fame, is a pretty ridiculous movie. For the most part, I would say that it’s ridiculous in a good way. The first scene involves a 31-year-old man known throughout most of the film as “The Kid” (Jake Robinson) standing in the kitchen of “The Narrator” (Sadoski) after he and the Narrator’s dog have just fallen through the kitchen ceiling. Apparently, The Kid is new in town. He also just so happens to work on the small-town newspaper for which The Narrator also writes. The Narrator has a bad feeling about The Kid from the very beginning, and it’s not just because the only thing he said after falling through The Narrator’s ceiling was, “That’s one of the top 10 things to ever happen to me.”
The Narrator is fascinated by The Kid’s weird mannerisms and becomes convinced that he is a sociopath. He ends up spending more time with The Kid to investigate and consequently write a screenplay about this “sociopath next door” (the book The Sociopath Next Door is mentioned much more than once) to sometimes hilarious results. The back-and-forth between The Narrator and The Kid is the meat and potatoes of the story. What’s happening in the background is only to amplify the argument that The Kid is crazy. He stares, imitates The Narrator without even seeming to know he is, keeps his home life a secret, talks in a robotic monotone, etc. What makes The Mimic interesting is when The Narrator starts to question whether he, too, is a sociopath.
“…The Narrator starts to question whether he, too, is a sociopath.”
The movie is not perfect, though. For example, it relies way too much on voice-over at the beginning, which is a risky move. The main character is indeed “The Narrator,” but I feel like they could have found a way to show and not tell the things he narrates to us that would have made the film more visually interesting. This could’ve happened for budgetary reasons, but still. The voice-over doesn’t go through the entirety of this strange comedy, and that’s when the real repartee between The Narrator and The Kid begins. There’s also a lot of breaking the fourth wall among several of the characters.
One particular scene involving two characters comes out of nowhere, but they’re never seen again, which is annoying because if that gimmick had been woven throughout the movie, it would have added comedic value and an interesting perspective. While I do like the comedic sensibilities of The Mimic, and particularly the dynamic between Sadoski and Robinson, it feels a little bit lacking structurally. It’s really just all about the prolonged tete-a-tete that goes on between the two leads. It would have been interesting to see more from the other characters. There are wonderful scenes with Tammy Blanchard, Austin Pendleton, Gina Gershon, Marilu Henner, and Jessica Walter, but I feel like they could’ve been used more.
I’ll say that with the faults the film has, I still find Sadoski’s charm to be enough to win me over in the long run. I think he’s a fantastic actor and a really funny guy. Robinson isn’t so bad himself, either. The Mimic might have worked better as a play to showcase these two actors’ talents because that’s what it does successfully. It also is uproariously funny in parts, while corny as hell in others. It’s a middling comedy, which we can all do well with occasionally, especially these days. So don’t discount The Mimic completely. Just don’t expect it to be the best thing you’ve ever seen.
"…with the faults the film has, I still find Sadoski's charm to be enough to win me over..."