When Houston’s Auto King, Burle Krashnikov (Abdul Abdullah), arrives at JD Scribbleline’s excuse of an office and offers the private dick a huge sum of money to find his trophy wife, Helen (Paula Martinez), it seems to Scribbleline (Joshua Rohn) that life is pretty good. But when porcelain doll Loretta Vanderbilt, aka Retta (Alexandria Nguyen), materializes and offers Scribbleline an envelope full of cash to find her missing brother, Kane (Stephen Reagin), things become a great deal more complicated.
Rohn and Reagin’s black and white black comedy, Who the Hell is JD Scribbleline? calls to mind every film noir detective known to man. It’s as if the filmmakers gathered all the PI-pieces together like some giant jigsaw puzzle, re-created the most sloppy, bumbling, slimy investigator ever, and named their caricature JD Scribbleline.
Physically, Rohn and Reagin’s invention is just as you might imagine. Scribbleline wears well slept in, cheap suits, white ankle socks and scuffed shoes that look as if they’ve been run over by a tank several times and then glued back together. Scribbleline’s personality matches his look— a combination of slovenly-roughness, poignant fragility, and just a pinch of crookedness.
Aesthetically, the movie is shot noir-fashion, but the camera moves are occasionally choppy. And though certain events seem disconnected— as in the dancer in the park— and we wonder how Scribbleline can so readily believe in an acrobatic ghost— all in all, the film is a feast for foppish-detective-enthusiasts everywhere.
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