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By Merle Bertrand | September 19, 2000

Being a financially ignorant filmmaker, writer, and former liberal arts major, I don’t have the slightest idea what a “mutual fund” is. After watching Paul Bojack’s fragmented and confusing short film “The Truth About Mutual Funds,” I still don’t. Granted, the title is a metaphor. Problem is, it’s tough to figure out exactly what it’s a metaphor for.
The first time the viewer sees Lanier (Kevin Goulet), he’s taking a leak on someone’s fence. Serves him right, then, that the short-tempered yuppie’s car won’t start. Lucky for him, however, Murcer (Kirk Stricker) happens by and offers to jump start him. Yet, to Lanier’s dismay, not only does his stubborn car still refuse to fire, but Murcer disconcertingly seems a little too intent on fixing things. He seems pent-up; waiting to snap.
Intercut amongst this main story are subplots featuring these two at other times in their lives. Lanier, for instance, stops by the home of Mr. Rhodes (Michæl Leopard) to buy his pool table. Instead, the embittered drunk provides Lanier with an unwelcome insight into his wealthy father’s past.
Continuing with this “father” theme, Murcer’s father (Jeremy Lawrence) stops by his son’s to watch the movie “Goodfellas.” Instead of bonding, the intense son ambushes his pop with a diatribe on how Scorcese is a second-rate talent.
It’s intriguing stuff, made more so by the snippets of footage showing beating hearts and clogging arteries. But whose? And why? Unfortunately, I’ll never know; the metaphors and symbolism at work in Paul Bojack’s film eluding me as I suspect it eludes most who watch it. As a result, although the film’s violent ending isn’t necessarily a surprise, given Murcer’s edginess and Lanier’s temper, the unfortunate truth about “The Truth About Mutual Funds” is that it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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