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Suckerfish (1999)

Cast: Dan Donovan, Tim Orr, Gerri Lawlor, more...
Director: Brien Burroughs
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Vanguard Cinema
Genre: Comedies, Independent
Running Time: 88 min.
Languages: English
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System Requirements

You may not even be aware that there is a seedy underbelly to the wholesale pet supply business, but director Brien Burroughs has not only uncovered it but milked it for laughs in his film Suckerfish. Dick (Tim Orr) and Alan (Dan Donovan) sell animals and accessories to pet stores on behalf of a large wholesale firm; Dick is a quick-lipped hipster while Alan is capable to selling nearly anything to a pet store manager, however useless it may be. When a veteran salesman retires from the company, Ken (Kurt Bodden) is hired to take over his route, the firm's biggest. Alan and Dick would both like a piece of the action, and Dick figures out a way to get it -- the two of them will start spreading malicious gossip about Ken to their gullible accounts. The plan works, but Ken soon gets wise to what's happened and finds out a little secret of his own -- that Dick has been sleeping with Alan's wife. Featuring improvised dialogue and an appealing jazz score, Suckering was shown at the 1999 Santa Barbara Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Cat food, dog toys, adultery & despair by Signalstation February 8, 2004 - 5:36 PM PST
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
The movie Suckerfish is an improvisational movie. The actors entered the scenes with an idea of what plot points had to be covered, but they were free to invent their own dialogue. You wouldn't necessarily notice it if you weren't told, but once you know, it's fascinating to watch the actors step on each other's lines, riff on each other's invented dialogue and maintain the sense that they're in-the-moment.

There's an extra feature on the DVD that allows you to see the creative process in action. The director, Brien Burroughs, would set up his camera on one angle & let the actors work through the scene. Then he'd change the angle and let them run through it again, though of course there would be changes in the dialogue as the scene evolved.

The final film cuts together the best lines & versions of the scenes, keeping the whole thing fresh and leaving out the awkward pauses and conversational dead ends.

But outside of the method, the film has a catchy plot hook. It takes you inside the competitive, cut-throat world of pet store supply salesmen. Walking a beat, talking with the idiosyncratic store owners, each vying to earn the biggest piece of the local pet supply pie.

You're taken along as they walk the beat, flatter store owners, soothe bruised egos, plot against each other, commit adultery and make each other miserable. It's an industry with a gritty underbelly, one you never think about, because thank goodness, you've got a better job than these guys.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.44)
9 Votes
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