With a style similar to cult favorites WAITING… and SWINGERS, THE MALADJUSTED by co-writer/director Chris Kiros (ZOMBTHOLOGY) and co-writer Elias Dancey delivers on its tagline of “A Summer-time Fun-time Feature Comedy Film”. Rather than focusing on the late-teens/early 20’s motif of films akin to this, THE MALADJUSTED features grown-up characters that still have some growing up to do. The theme really resonates with a lot of late-bloomers, especially of the current generation, and makes for a watch that is both entertaining, thought-provoking, and maybe a little embarrassing.
The pre-title scene goes on a little long, but serves as a good introduction to our main characters. The voice-over narration that follows, giving further insight into these same characters feels a little redundant, but concedes at least one funny scene before finally getting us into the actual film. The film’s dialogue is certainly well-written and everything feels true-to-life and has a sort of Tarantino feel to the ensemble scenes.
The editing could be tighter overall (it comes in at 103 minutes total), with several instances where we somewhat lose the flow of the story with unintentional awkward pauses, or seconds-too-long holds on shots. Technically speaking the cinematography, lighting, and audio are all competent. The close-up shots are a bit overused, as are the shallow depth-of-field shots, but this can probably be attributed to the camera/s they were shooting with and the lenses available to them. The locations, mostly shot in and around Virginia really open up the movie and show that you definitely don’t need to be in New York or Los Angeles to make a movie look like a movie. The few visual effects in the film look great and the color correction makes many scenes, especially those shot outdoors, really pop.
All the characters work well together and the performances are tight. Veterans Tiffany Shepis (WRATH OF THE CROWS, DROPPING EVIL) and George Katt (Blue Bloods TV series, and DELTA ZULU) bring a lot of clout to, and anchor this indie comedy. The other cast members provide their share of laughs, and heartfelt moments. Special notes go to Clayton Myers and Rosebud Baker. for their portrayals of Carl and Nikki, the characters that really felt the most “real” to me.
The thing that makes THE MALADJUSTED stand out among other comedies with similar stories is the raw honestly and brutality it shows in how girls and guys alike view sex, relationships, and how they relate to each other on deeper levels. If you can’t look beyond the sex and the cursing peppered throughout the flick, then you’re missing out on the core of what this film is really about.
THE MALADJUSTED Review
Three friends struggle to maintain their hedonistic lifestyles as they approach 30. Delving into their story, we become subjected to their inane theories, absurd philosophies and warped sense of humor.