Jason Schwartzman has been on a bit of a roll at the moment, although while having many fingers in many pies the films don’t always hit the mark. Bob Byington’s 7 Chinese Brothers teeters closely on the brink of mediocrity, with very little substance and nothing more to offer than being a bit odd.
That being said, Schwartzman for some audiences is a man who can maintain your interest without actually being in anything interesting. In this film, he plays Larry, a scruffy nobody who seems to alienate those around him through his sheer ineptitude and obvious lack of enthusiasm. He takes care of his mum while being subtly drunk the entire time, and shares an adorable on-screen friendship with his actual off-screen dog.
Sacked from a previous job, he gets another one at a garage where he begins to fall for the manager there, played by Eleanore Pienta, who appears unaffected by his inadvertently annoying and quirky behaviour. He grumbles along, constantly letting us believe that he is on the brink of everything going to waste, while providing nothing more to go while providing nothing more to go on as he resumes his lonely existence with his dog.
Somehow this is enough for me. The dialogue isn’t particularly sharp, it’s not quick-witted and there isn’t an over-arching genre/theme that can define this film, yet Schwartzmans behaviour and his simple glances of unknowing annoyance had me chuckling away. He is a naïve, childish adult who by the end of the film encourages you to actually give a shit about someone who doesn’t give a shit.
Bizarrely, it works.