Sword of Trust
Mumblecore tries a Southern drawl in the latest aloof comedy from writer/director Lynn Shelton, who launched her career about a decade ago with amiable indies including Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister. Her subsequent stints as a TV director haven’t given her any new tricks to try in this tale of a lesbian couple with a bizarre inheritance that gets them tied up with Civil War revisionists in Birmingham, Ala. The film could just as easily been set in Indianapolis or San Antonio or something else that clearly isn’t Hollywood. Sword of Trust’s true destination is hanging out with some charming folks whose sense of humor is mostly driven by exasperation. Marc Maron carries most of the movie as a transplanted pawn-shop owner, and he’s fun to watch if you like his podcast persona. (He’s convinced that he screwed up his career early on by taking on too many personas, so he’s not going to try anything new now.) Jillian Bell and Michaela Watkins are believable enough as, respectively, the ditzy Southern girl and her worldly gal pal. Everyone else gets stuck playing broad Southern caricatures – until the plot has to take a dopey turn that feels as improvised as the performances. Otherwise, the only surprise is that people are still expected to buy tickets to see this kind of thing.