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By Merle Bertrand | October 30, 2000

Roper (writer/director Fred Parnes) and his duplex neighbor Andy (Chris Rydell) are very different on the outside. Roper’s passion for the blues is a broken record, matched only by his affection for his son Augie (Anton Yelchin) and a quick temper behind the wheel. Divorced from his radio talk show host wife Freddie (Michele Harris), Roper’s whole existence seems to center not on Augie, however, nor on his cute girlfriend Lily (Paulina Mielech), but on finding a distributor for the documentary he’s made about the blues.
Andy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to care much about anything. After inheriting a sizable chunk of cash from his grandmother, the affable cynic is busily engaged in withdrawing from life. Watching her once-talented musician boyfriend blow an endless series of days smoking pot and/or playing golf with his best friend Jeff (Mark Curry) has left Andy’s exasperated girlfriend Jaime (Heather Roop) questioning their future together.
Considering the needlessly bloated 110 minute run time of Parnes’ “A Man Is Mostly Water,” there is a surprising dearth of truly memorable moments in this otherwise genial film. Instead, it ambles good-naturedly along; its characters’ paths crossing when convenient but rarely in a direct cause and effect way. Indeed, the film was nearly over before I realized Roper and Andy lived in the same building. The film features a great blues soundtrack, punctuated by amusing, even poignant scenes from Roper’s documentary which, though fictional, are almost more interesting than the film itself.
Conventional wisdom has it that in any good screenplay or film, it’s important for the characters to change. By that yardstick, “A Man Is Mostly Water” is a successful film, as Roper, Andy and those around them do change, if somewhat blithely. Yet, the heft is missing here. While the film’s message about growth and change seems as sweet as cotton candy, it’s also every bit as substantial.

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