Marie (Kerri Lendo) has recently been fired from her job as a maid. Well, sort of. See, she was dressed as a French maid and cleaning houses, but technically she was working for a company that was supplying escorts under the front of housecleaning… only she never got the memo, apparently. To make things worse, her boyfriend Phil (Byron Brown) dumps her.
While out looking for work in her maid get-up, she is approached by businessman Eric (Shannon McCormick). High-strung and living in a house in need of constant cleaning, Eric hires Marie to keep his house tidy. While on the job, Marie meets Joe (John Merriman), Eric’s roommate from college, who is still his roommate, but whom Eric has completely forgotten exists due to how busy his life has become.
And then more strange people and insane things happen. I could enumerate every one, but even typing out the little bit of synopsis above just goes to show me how futile it is to try and explain “what happens” in this film. You should just watch and experience this flick first-hand; the less you know about it, the better.
See, Pictures of Superheroes is the type of film that, had it ended with Marie suddenly awakening from a dream, it wouldn’t have been all that surprising. The film seems to operate on cartoon logic, which is where everything that is said or happens is just accepted as the way things are, regardless of how insane it all is. Or, to quote from the film itself, Pictures of Superheroes makes “sense like a goddamn Gremlin…”
I must speak Gremlin, or at least understand their way of thinking, because I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any stranger, it would throw another curve ball at me. Which, you know, is odd in and of itself; movies shouldn’t throw things at the people watching them. Anyway, while I’ve seen other films attempt to go for something as nonsensical as this film gets, often the endeavors are filled with either over-the-top acting performances or awkward pauses where the filmmakers are practically saying, “Did you see what we did? Isn’t that insane? Ha! We’re crazy! Love us!” Pictures of Superheroes just delivers and moves on and, much like the characters in the film, there’s a shrug to be had, but not much more contemplation to follow.
And the music score! It sneaks up on you, but there are sequences where it sounds like someone is having a very slow seizure while trying to play a keyboard, and I found myself laughing at that. It’s just another layer of the film doing something a bit different or strange, but, in this case, hiding it in the musical background. Which probably makes logical sense to a Gremlin… or doesn’t…
On the acting side of things, most everyone plays things straight, which only amplifies the quirkiness of their lives. Well, Shannon McCormick’s performance as Eric gets pretty intense, but he’s an over-stressed and over-worked mess, so he’s as matter-of-fact as that type of human can be. John Merriman as Joe is at his somewhat crazy-eyed and slightly creepy best, and Kerri Lendo’s Marie offers just the right amount of detachment from the insanity surrounding her.
Overall, I really enjoyed Pictures of Superheroes, but it’s going to be an acquired taste and not for everyone. Some folks are going to love how off-center it is, some may even find a message in there somewhere about work, maturity and growing old (I tried looking but got lost and had macaroni and cheese instead) but others may not know what the Hell they’re looking at or why it’s happening to them. It’s an odd experience, sometimes seemingly for odd’s sake, but if you’re of the Gremlin-mind, I can see this one garnering a cult following.