The impact of sudden love on a long standing friendships is the main theme of Tom Shkolnik’s The Comedian.
The film centres on the friendship of Ed (Edward Hogg), a painfully unfunny 20-something stand up comic and flatmate Elisa (Elisa Lasowski) with whom he enjoys a siibling-like friendship.
But the pair’s inseparability comes under threat when Ed meets Nathan (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) when travelling home by bus after an flop of a stand-up gig.
The film is largely improvised by the cast, a bold move which sadly doesn’t really work. Scenes often feel awkward and overlong and lack any sense of direction or narrative.
If you were expecting a film called The Comedian to be either funny or about comedy then you’re likely to be sorely disappointed.
This is a depressing tale of a man who seems to drift through life, putting little effort into it until he stumbles on someone who eggs him on to achieve more. It’s not really the stuff to warm an audience to a lead character.
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett gives the film its only stand-out performances, most notably in a scene in which a group of schoolgirls are challenged about their open homophobia.
That he manages to shine is a testament to skill as an actor – both he and Hogg are given so little to work with that it’s hard to see what attracted them to the project.
But biggest criticism I have of The Comedian is that while it has a few good moments, it’s impossible to spot what the film’s point is meant to be because it got lost long before the final edit.
The Comedian is about as shapeless and meandering as 80 minutes of cinema can be.
The Comedian is showing as part of the 27th BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Visit bfi.org.uk/llgff for screening details and booking info.