From the director of Spun, Jonas Åkerlund’s Small Apartments is a trivial little kitchen-sink tale of an LA weirdo who happens to have a dead man in his apartment. Told in a flashback-heavy shaggy-dog manner, the story is populated by many vaguely intertwined characters that become tied together by the fallout from the death in question. The center of the film is Franklin Franklin, a hairless pastry of a man who struts around in his high socks and underwear without shame, and does all sorts of quirky things like wear different wigs, drink a very specific soda, and listen to self-help tapes recorded daily by his insane brother. He also tries to rid himself of his landlord’s dead body without any skill in criminal disposing, the resulting slapstick tying many of these characters together.

The film is a light, inoffensive quirk-fest elevated by its stellar supporting cast that includes a retirement-breaking performance by Billy Crystal as a worn out detective, Dolph Lundgren as a over-tan self help guru, James Caan as a grumpy widower, Johnny Knoville as an upbeat stoner, Juno Temple as pre-stripping career aimless teenager, Peter Stormare as a dead body, and James Marsden as Franklin’s touched brother. The great little parts should sum up to something a bit more interesting, but the film’s got a lot of admirable character and might be worth checking out if you’re intrigued by its pedigree.

–Renn Brown

Director: Jonas Åkerlund

Screenwriter: Chris Millis

Principal Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Peter Stormare, David Koechner, Rosie Perez, Dolph Lundgren, with James Caan, and Johnny Knoxville

Small Apartments’ Franklin Franklin is a fully realized and sympathetic protagonist in the vein of Ignatius Reilly (A Confederacy of Dunces), a simple man who yearns for “a land of pastoral serenity” devoid of the irritants of contemporary urban life. An off-beat tale, Small Apartments is accented along the way by murder, strange fingernail collections, and the occasional blast from a treasured alphorn.

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