There will be some immediate comparisons of Demetri Martin's first feature length film to Zach Braff's "Garden State" thirteen years ago. And yes there are some similarities, enough to even question why this thing was even made? "Garden State" was okay, but not earth shaking.


Nevertheless, Martin plows through with his unfunny version of Woody Allen self deprecating humor; a version that misses more than it hits. Moreover, a version that we've seen a couple of times before with better results. Martin, plays the titular character who opens at a cemetery with his father (Kevin Kline) staring at the grave of his mother.


They are both going to deal with the mother's death, but is different ways. Robert (Kline), has decided that he needs to move on and downsize by selling the family home. He hires Carol (Mary Steenburgen) to sell the house for whatever he can get for it. Dean objects but runs away from the confrontation with loss to go on an interview in Los Angeles.

Dean, is an illustrator and the interview is with an internet company that really isn't that impressed with his work; it is after all rather depressing. It reflects Deans mood, and Dean can only think of the death of his mother.


But while he's there he meets with and becomes intrigued with a local gal named Nicky (Gillian Jacobs). She's isn't as into him as she isn't repulsed by him and the fact that he's a dweeb. So, without a set place to stay (he stays with a friend), he decides to prolong his stay in LA to pursue Nicky.


His approach to Nicky is an apology for being previously engaged to a woman just to make his dying mother happy and breaking the engagement after his mother died. Dean's life is one big regret after another.


The only thing that saves the film are the performances by Kline and Steenburgen who create genuinely interesting lonely people looking for late-life love. Their screen chemistry is terrific.


"Dean" is yet another attempt to find humor in a person who just isn't happy with himself or his perpetual bad decisions. You have to really like Demetri Martin to find it amusing.   -- GEOFF BURTON