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HuffPost Review: A Film With Me in It

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's tempting to lump Ian Fitzgibbon's A Film with Me in It in with a comically Grand Guignol-thriller like Shallow Grave. Or the plays (and film) of Martin McDonagh.

But it would be wrong. For, while there is violence galore in A Film with Me in It,
the lion's share is accidental. No, really -- they were accidents.

That's the joke in this blackly humorous Irish film, which stars the film's writer, Mark Doherty, and stand-up comic Dylan Moran. People drop dead at an alarming rate in this movie -- and the deaths are unbelievably accidental, in the sense that so many bizarre accidents in so short a time simply has to look fishy to the authorities. So unemployed actor Mark (Doherty) and his would-be writer-filmmaker friend Pierce (Moran) must invent a set of circumstances that seem more likely than the freak occurrences that blossom around this hapless duo.

The pair are ne'er-do-wells, renting flats in the same building from the same gruff landlord (Keith Allen), who is badgering them for their respective rents. Mark has spent the rent on other bills -- like heat for the flat and gas for the car -- but he hasn't told his girlfriend Sally (Amy Huberman), with whom he lives, along with his paralyzed brother Dave (David O'Doherty).

As Mark tries to figure out how to keep from being evicted, he suffers a mini-plague of accidents within his ramshackle apartment. Let's just say the apartment's rattletrap fixtures and shaky furniture claim a series of victims in record time, forcing Mark and Pierce to figure out how to dispose of the various corpses without landing in jail for something they did not do.

There's a wonderful comic chemistry between the taciturn Doherty and the alternately blasé and panicked Moran. Doherty seems mostly to be in shock, while Moran -- as the would-be screenwriter -- keeps trying to puzzle out the situation as though it were a movie he was watching. What would someone on the big screen do with a gaggle of stiffs and no plausible explanation for them?

Fitzgibbon toys with tone, occasionally suggesting that, at some moment, one of these mates is going to turn on the other. Then he undermines the menace by triggering yet another bizarrely violent (and unaided) death.

It's a slight film but an explosively funny one. I happened to see it at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 -- and now it's finally being released (who knows how briefly) at the IFC Center in Manhattan. It may roll out elsewhere -- or turn up in some video-on-demand delivery system. By all means, make an effort to track it down. It will make you laugh - hard.