FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2018 -- We all have a friend or relative who is obsessed over some celebrity - musician, actor, painter...whatever. And we know at least one person who claims to be the know-all expect on that celeb. They monitor everything, practically down to the time that celeb uses the toilet. That is the story behind Jesse Peretz's latest film.


Rose Byrne plays Annie the head curator of a small British town museum that she only keeps operating because it was her father's life work. She is married to, or at least in a live in relationship with Duncan (Chris Dowd) who is obsessed with a one-time rock star. That rock star is Tucker Crowe (played dutifully by Ethan Hawke) and he hasn't been seen in many, many years. He disappeared during a concert and it's anyone's guess where he is or if he's still alive.


What Tucker left behind is the legacy of relatively obscure music and a dedicated fan base of about 200 people who congregate on a blog dedicated to him. That blog is diligently operated by Duncan and he is more dedicated to the blog than he is to Annie. He does have a job teaching at a local university some obscure classes on obscure American history. Needless to say, Duncan and Annie's life together is pretty much loveless with Annie using toys to satisfy her sexual needs.

As luck would have it, Duncan has a tryst with a new coworker causing he and Annie to break up. That would be the end of the story were it not for an anonymous comment made my Annie on Duncan's blog that caught the attention of none other than Tucker Crowe.


As it turns out, Tucker was a bit of a womanizer in his day and made babies all over the place. In fact, he is living with the mother of his youngest kid, the only kid he has spent any time with, Jackson (Azhy Robertson). Everything is fine until one of his older children, Lizzie (Ayoola Smart), visits him pregnant; she is preggers by a musician.


With that, Tucker decides to make a concerted effort to try an be a decent grandfather since he sucked at being a father. But Lizzie is living in London, so he goes to London and invites Annie (with who he's chatted with through Duncan's blog) to meet him. This sets up an awkward but nevertheless humorous scenario with he going out with the object of Duncan's obsession before Duncan even met him.


The humor is subtle but spot on as her relationship with Tucker grows and Duncan is left on the outside looking in. Byrne and O'Dowd are perfect as the couple with absolutely no chemistry. Hawke recalls his role as the off-beat dad in "Boyhood", portraying the one hit wonder aging former rock star who'd kicked stardom to the curb.


Peretz unevenly distributed the screen time between Byrn/Hawke and Byrne/O'Dowd; Hawke got the most time once his character was introduced. That's a shame because O'Dowd's character is funnier.


"Juliet, Naked" is a nifty little offbeat comedy that pokes fun at idol worshiping and the regrets of missing in action fathers. The casting is spot on even with the unevenness of script.   -- GRADE B --   GEOFF BURTON