Ah, finally – the long awaited MY NAME IS JERRY review. You crazy Fan-Sapiens have been waiting for this, haven’t you?
(And you ARE crazy – don’t try to deny it. I troll your message board sometimes.)
I’m happy to report that you won’t be disappointed. JERRY is definitely what you had been hoping for: Doug Jones playing a romantic lead in a sweet independent comedy. And the film works. Doug hits just the right tone with his performance. He is melancholy, funny, likeable and most importantly – he creates a character that you want to root for. You want Jerry to get the girl. You pull for Jerry to get the new job. All of these things are integral to the movie succeeding, and Doug pulls it off well.
So, you ask, what is it about?
It is about a man that is lost, and his name is Jerry. Jerry has a mundane job as a salesman and a lonely home life. He is divorced. He is estranged from his daughter. He eats TV dinners at night and turns down invitations to socialize with his co-workers.
But one day, something sets off a spark inside him. Looking for a co-worker’s party, Jerry mistakenly goes to the wrong address. Answering the door is Jordan (Katlyn Carlson). She’s young and quirky and fun – everything that Jerry is not. As Jerry walks off the doorstep, a slight smile touches his face and the transformation begins.
Soon, he finds himself in a record store, learning about punk music, and making friends half his age. Is it a mid-life crisis? Not really – more like a mid-life awakening. He meets Jordan by chance at a bar where she works and a relationship begins – a relationship that is more of a mystery to Jerry than to Jordan.
The drama begins when Jerry’s daughter returns to him after her mother’s death. Soon we realize that the mistakes of his past are the biggest obstacle for him to build a new future. To Jerry, it’s not only that he doubts his daughter will forgive him – he doubts if he can forgive himself.
Jerry and his daughter have a long overdue conversation
The cast was strong throughout, with Don Stark (That 70′s Show) playing Doug’s encouraging co-worker, Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) as Jerry’s forgiving boss, and Allison Scagliotti as Jerry’s daughter. Especially good was Carlson as Jordan – her character reminds me of that really cute girl in high school that was always nice to me, but I was always too scared to ask her out. Her performance made me want to go back in time and try again.
I suppose the big question you are wondering is this: will this independent film find a distribution deal? I would say unlikely. The film is good, and director Morgan Mead and writer David Hamilton did an wonderful job of telling a story with a lot of heart, but it does fall a little short in some categories. I would have liked to have seen the film probe deeper into the punk rock scene. Also, some of the comedy falls flat at times, especially with Jerry’s college-aged buddies. I feel like there was room for more laughs in the film overall. It slows down with the number of dramatic scenes. As it stands, the film is more drama than comedy. I think Mead missed an opportunity to make the film…well…more fun. Still, it is a good film and has some potential to have a cult following on DVD (particularly among the Fan Sapiens out there – you know who you are).
All in all, I would recommend MY NAME IS JERRY to my wife for a cozy night on the couch, and honestly that is a pretty good compliment for any film.