‘Linoleum’ assessment: Bendable desires – Los Angeles Times

As a slapstick comedian, Jim Gaffigan is thought for gently self-deprecating, principally family-friendly jokes about on a regular basis life and meals. But as an actor — and particularly within the films and TV collection the place he’s taken the lead — Gaffigan appears drawn to thoughtfully offbeat tasks resembling his new movie “Linoleum,” a minor-key home drama steadily reworked into one thing grander by its science-fiction components.

Gaffigan performs a twin function: Cameron Edwin, a good-hearted instructional TV host whose profession and household life have been slowly deteriorating for years; and Kent Armstrong, a extra profitable however a lot icier man, who strikes throughout the road from Cam. When an previous piece of house junk falls out of orbit and into the Edwins’ yard, Cam decides to revive his previous dream of changing into an astronaut by changing the equipment right into a rocket, able to escaping Earth’s gravity. As he tinkers, he discovers that point and house are breaking down in his fast neighborhood.

Writer-director Colin West ceaselessly shifts focus away from Cam to cowl what’s happening with two of his family members: Erin (Rhea Seehorn), his annoyed spouse, who has filed for divorce and is weighing a profitable job provide in her area of aeronautics; and Nora (Katelyn Nacon), their sensible, iconoclastic teenage daughter, who feels an instantaneous connection when she meets Kent’s charmingly nerdy son, Marc (Gabriel Rush).

These digressions initially look like a miscalculation on West’s half. The quasi-romance between Nora and Marc is good however unremarkable, and fewer attention-grabbing than the interactions between Cam and Nora (who finds her dad ridiculous however lovable) and Cam and Marc (who hangs out on the Edwin place each to speak science and to flee his exhaustingly demanding father). As for Erin, firstly of the movie her character comes throughout as one of many worst dramatic cliches: the unappreciative, nagging partner. It’s a waste of Seehorn’s abilities — once more, at first.

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But within the second half of “Linoleum,” the scattered items of the story begin coming collectively, related partly by previous clips from Cam’s TV collection, which present him sharing his enthusiasm for the mysteries of the universe — generally with Erin as his equally keen co-host. The previous and the current begin bleeding collectively because the Edwins attempt to puzzle out the place every thing went fallacious with their marriage and with their desires.

West has lots on his thoughts with this movie; and he’s finally much less considering explaining every thing taking place onscreen than in free-associating concerning the difficult, lifelong relationship between kids and their mother and father. But Gaffigan’s everyman presence and seeker’s soul make him an amazing vessel for giant concepts. He could make an bizarre man who’s attempting to turn out to be an novice astronaut look poignant, not foolish. As actuality bends round Cam, he appears to be like extra wowed than scared. His amazement turns into ours.


Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Playing: Starts Feb. 24, Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood