The movie starts out at a drip, like syrup from a tap.
The viewer watches, waiting for gravity to kick in, build momentum with the weight behind it and cause a splash, but it hangs suspended, like a helium balloon in space; free of force, power or any real directive thrust.
Roberts portrays Matt, an ambitious, creative everyman minus ten. His mutton chops, wife beaters, plaid shirts and propensity to freeload give him an aura more of, “Joe Dirt,” than Henry Ford. Still, Matt aspires to make his fortune as a novelty inventor, constantly thinking about and designing little creations and ordering prototypes from Hong Kong.
Sam (Renner), is Matt’s best friend, he is charismatic, extroverted and has the personality of a used car salesman. Sam tends to be on the right track with his sales, until he makes an error here or there and abruptly destroys them with the force of a Hulk smash.
There is little background given on the characters until the movie is about two-thirds over. Then we learn that Sam enjoys gambling away the capital that Matt freeloads off his girlfriend Gina, a foreign flight attendant of ambiguous roots and circumstance. Matt is ambivalent about losing the money for about fourteen seconds, but then comes around because he does not want to be a square and worst case scenario, Gina, the, “Latke Gravas,” of this little drama, could always turn tricks if she ends up unable to take out more loans for him.
The movie functions around these dynamics and they all sort of float around the screen for a little bit, until Gina gets tired of taking out loans for her jobless boyfriend and moves into her sister’s house, which is big, has a pool and is free of parasitic boyfriends.
Then we see the tables turn gradually, Matt has a brilliant idea for a novelty and manages to once again get money from Gina, who we now learn has absolutely no self-respect, but is certain this idea would work because a pilot said he would spend $7 on one for a friend which is clearly indicative of marketability toward a substantial demographic. Clearly.
Even when turmoil begins to for and the big order goes wrong in a penultimate scene, with the potential to cost Matt a fortune; it does not cost him a fortune. The big order is put right at the manufacturer’s expense sans conflict or dramatic tension.
This movie is supposed to show ordinary existence drifting, and not being thrust, into the extraordinary.
However, it takes the opposite tactic of most rags-to-riches films in that the main focus is on the rags rather than the riches. The movie would be comparable to “Fight Club,” if Tyler Durden had been introduced in the last five minutes.