Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Search for John Gissing

The Search for John Gissing; comedy, USA / UK, 2001; D: Mike Binder, S: Mike Binder, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Rickman, Sonya Walger, Allan Corduner

Matthew and his wife, Linda, arrive from the US to London because he was transferred for a job. Matthew was told that a certain John Gissing will meet him at the airport, but he doesn't, and thus the couple wonders the streets of London, trying to find their hotel. The next day, Matthew even misses an important meeting because he was informed it was an hour later. He finds out that Gissing is behind it all, trying to fire Matthew as soon as he arrived, because Gissing is afraid the CEOs want to remove him from an important deal with a German company. Matthew takes revenge by foiling Gissing's important meeting, too. Finally, Gissing and Matthew decide to work together to complete the deal, and succeed.

Mike Binder's 6th feature length directorial achievement, independent comedy "The Search for John Gissing" is a film that deserves to be seen until the end, since a lot of subplots are explained and given a context later on, aligning the initial chaos into a grand scheme of scams set in the business world. The first third follows the misadventures of a couple, Matthew and Linda (great director-actor Mike Binder and Janeane Garofalo) who are lost in London and stumble upon several mishaps — only to find out all of this was orchestrated by the title character who wants them fired even before they start their new job. Binder has a good grip of the storyline, yet his jump cuts often seem unnecessary and only disrupt the viewers from engaging, whereas the story suffers from several bad jokes near the finale (especially the one involving an older, senile German woman who goes on about her sex life with her late husband). Still, several jokes manage to ignite and are refreshingly anarchic, whether through dialogues ("You don't argue when a CEO has a seizure... from shouting too much at you!"; "I just hit the wall... I was so excited to see you that I hit the wall.") or through sight gags (Gissing suspiciously observing his coffee cup, even though he knows Matthew planned a revenge for his meeting, but then taking a sip, holding for a long time - only to spit it out on a nearby guy, anyway). Alan Rickman delivers another fine performance as the conniving title character, and the movie gives a few satirical jabs at the corporate world, contemplating how uncomfortable it can get.


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