If you don’t follow the comedy circuit closely, you may not have heard of Dimitri Martin (Live “At The Time” – Netfilx Streaming), but he’s a funny guy with an off-beat and wry sense of humor. His first film (which he wrote, directs, and stars in), “Dean,” has just been released. Robin and I both found it a funny, real, and, at times, touching movie that we enjoyed throughout.
Dean (Dimitri), an only child, has just lost his mother. His father, Robert (Kevin Kline), is an engineer who approaches her death as “a problem to be solved” while Dean, a cartoonist, is trying to avoid dealing with it at all. (The film has somewhat of an autobiographical basis, since Demitri lost his father.) Robert wants to sell the house and “move forward,” since everything there reminds him of his wife, but Dean is opposed. Robert still decides to list the house, causing a conflict between himself and Dean.
Despite his grief, Robert finds himself attracted to the real estate agent, Carol (Mary Steenburgen). Dean is having a writer’s block with his cartoons for his second book and he is late on his deadline from the publisher. Angry at his father, Dean abandons him and flies off to L.A. to hang out with his close friend, Eric (Rory Scovel). At a party, Dean meets Nicky (Gillian Jacobs – “Don’t Think Twice”). How Dean and Robert cope with their loss is the essence of the film.
Despite the film’s subject matter, the movie is often very funny and touching. The numerous cartoons sprinkled throughout, created by Martin, add a humorous dimension which elevates the film. I also thought the soundtrack was terrific, with very good songs that I had never heard before. I doubt Martin will turn out to be the second coming of Woody Allen (an obvious influence), but I am eagerly looking forward to his next film.