Eugene (Zach Flowers), a college mascot, has been forced to retire due to a lack of mascot opportunities. He doesn’t take the situation well, falling into a silent depression; that is, he hasn’t spoken in over twenty days. His two friends, siblings Greg (Lucas Ross) and Libby (Brittany Joyner), hatch a plan to get Eugene to talk again, something all the more important now that Libby has explained to Greg that she is pregnant, and needs all friendly hands on deck.
Jay Sheldon’s My Little Mascot lives in Sugar Town; the story of friends trying to break another out of his funk is sweet, with an after taste of quirk. That said, while the overall tale has moments of cute and is definitely smothered in good intentions, it didn’t always work for me.
For instance, it wasn’t until Libby makes mention of it later on that I even knew she and Greg were siblings. Up until that point, I actually thought maybe he was the one who got her pregnant. After that, I was confused about whether Libby was pregnant with Eugene’s kid, or if maybe her talk of “we” was one of friendly inclusion; it taking a village and all that. Not that it is really important when you look at the overall goal of getting Eugene to speak, because it still adds a bit of emotional weight, and more than a bit of salvation through maturity, to the entire experience.
While the clarity issue of how these friends were all related to each other, both figuratively and literally, caused me a bit of confusion, the overall film is solid. Sometimes the handheld shots shake too much for my liking (it’s weird that I’m starting to pick out subtleties in handheld camerawork nowadays; the technique is used just that much), but it is not poorly shot and there are a few well-composed images that give the impression that someone was thinking about more than just pointing a camera in one direction and having the action happen in front of it. Additionally, the film has a musical score comprised of a number of independent bands, which I really enjoyed. Appropriately, the sound mix is also well done. It isn’t uncommon for filmmakers to think of sound last, to generally horrible effect, so I appreciate it when the filmmakers give it the right amount of loving attention.
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