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By Phil Hall | November 13, 2010

In this documentary, Israeli filmmaker Regev Contes aims his camera close to home: the small, failing insurance agency run by Contes’ father, who labors on with uneasy assistance from a lazy uncle and an inept old friend. The elder Contes is an irritable personality who has been working at a loss for years – the fact that he could keep his small operation afloat for a month, let alone for most of his adult life, is a minor miracle.

Contes, who made this film while between assignments as a television commercial director, invites himself into the agency with the hope of understanding how his father’s business works.  What he discovers is his constantly agitated parent using his two “assistants” as little more than comedy relief to relieve the anxieties of the day – the other men spend more time napping and making meals instead of helping to scare up profits. But there is no time for fun when a ridiculous clerical error creates a significant financial blow to the agency, and Contes needs to loan his father money in order to keep the business alive.

If that’s not bad enough, the local electric utility adds to the pain by shutting off their power. In fairness, the utility’s patience was frayed after a year’s worth of nonpayment on electric bills.

Contes’ father’s agency may not deserve to be called “The Worst Business in the World,” but the level of incompetence and laziness displayed in the film is too annoying to be considered endearing, let alone funny. In presenting his father as a stupid hothead, Contes creates the cinematic equivalent of a poison pen letter. The film is astonishing, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

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