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By Brian Bertoldo | August 23, 1999

A dark comedy, “Loaves” follows the blunders of an attempted plot to kill a man’s wife, set in motion by a threesome of midwestern townie types. It’s certainly not one of them there big city stories, but you’ve got to love those wacky farmer types.
We open with the town’s beloved bestower of frozen treats and philosophy, Ice Cream Bob (Dan Gilvary), accidentally shot with an arrow. The remainder of the film is, for the most part, told in police interrogation flashbacks. Russel Slimp (Kade Douglas) is trapped in a marriage that’s taken an ugly turn. His wife’s not the woman she used to be, or so were told. In fact she’s at least 300 pounds and nags him day and night. Now Russel’s a good looking, simple, home town guy. The kind who still relives the good times of high school and treasures his Camaro. Russel’s a deliveryman for the Yonder Bread Company up for a promotion to senior driver, giving him two weeks vacation. While making a stop on his route, he meets Tammy (Shannan Keenan), a white trash femme fatale waiting for some good-looking schlump to toy with. Russel fits the bill and the pair begin an affair in the back of his bread truck, as Russel says “there’s something erotic about squished bread up against you’re skin.” Poor Russel, blinded by lust and egged on by Tammy, decides to bump off his big ol’ wife. A divorce would certainly result in losing his job, since his father-in-law is his boss and he would likely loose his coveted Camaro. Who will carry out the deed? Enter Russel’s bumbling cousin, Eldon (Adam Wilhite). Eldon owes Russel for saving him from a three-wheeler accident in junior high. So for $2000 and all the bread he can eat, Eldon attempts to kill Mrs. Slimp, four times. That’s right, four, he’s not all that bright, but he tries. Each attempt is as ridiculously executed as the next and for each failure, Eldon looses $500 of his payment; Tammy’s doing of course. The fourth try is our opener, the unintentional wounding of Ice Cream Bob. Police questioning, a parody-style media frenzy and well executed comedic deceit follow.
Shannan Keenan’s self-financed debut feature proves that an indie filmmaker can actually produce a coherent, structured film for under $35,000. A trooper indeed, Keenan serves up a dark comedy complete with believable, engaging (albeit dimwitted) characters. Though the basic plot may not be original, the laughs during the interrogation flashbacks coupled with the strength and delivery of this cast of unknowns, gives Loaves it’s own unique flavor. A promising first feature, keeping the dream alive for no-budget filmmakers struggling to produce something other than the tiresome personal editorials dominating the festival circuit. – Brian Bertoldo

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