I genuinely like Justin Long as an actor. Sure, he’s kind of the poor man’s Jimmy Fallon, but I think the guy can act and time will prove that to be true. I also like Emanuelle Chiriqui, Missi Pyle, Rob Corddry and Nick Offerman who all star along with Long in director Talmage Cooley’s indie comedy film “Patriotville.” It’s a quirky little film about a guy named Chase Revere (Long) who loves American history, particularly the history of his hometown of “Patriotville” where he runs the local historical society and museum. Since I’m talking, albeit briefly, about the things I like about “Patriotville,” I’ll also cop to being a fan of quirky comedies. So, since I like the people involved and I like the style on display, where did “Patriotville” go south on me and why? Four simple words: It’s the story, stupid. “Patriotville” just isn’t very funny.
Although in love with his town and his job, Chase is stuck in his Podunk world with his Podunk friend Digger (O’Donnell) with no real aspirations to escape. He lives in various rooms at the motel his dad runs and spends every waking moment working on the museum and historical society. That is until one day the town Mayor (Corddry) realizes the town is going to go bankrupt unless he and the city planners can lure in some Native Americans to build a casino right smack dab on top of where the historical society and museum are located. In full red-blooded racism, they arrive to pow-wow about the potential of Patriotville as a home for their casino.
Chase is the only person in town who doesn’t want them there, and it’s all because of some misplaced notion of home even though no one seems to care about all the work he does. Then, Revere meets the beautiful Lucy (Chiriqui) and his world opens up to him as it can only in an indie film where a full-bore dork bags a chick who’s way, way out of his league. And I guess that the major issue with “Patriotville” – it feels like something I’ve seen before. A middle-of-the-road indie comedy with some semi-big name stars in a clunky story that falls by the wayside as we’re supposed to be bowled over by the ensemble onscreen. Plus, it’s not funny.
I did enjoy Offerman’s performance as the local law, and Chiriqui is just so damned adorable. But Corddry plays Corddry in his sleazy, cynical jerk mode, and Long’s talent is frankly wasted as he really does nothing but rock a powdered wig in a one-note joke that stopped being funny after the first time he appears in it.
Look, I don’t get off on bagging on a film, and it doesn’t make me feel good to rake someone’s film over the coals. But I get sick of these little comedy indies that take advantage of audiences by showing a promising cast that all play down to their potential in a comedy film that just isn’t funny.