Photo Credit: Jas Shelton
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
I have been a big fan of David Sedaris since the first time I heard him read one of his essays on This American Life, and have since had the chance to see him read live. After the delightful surprise that was Sleepwalk With Me at last year's festival from another longtime contributor to TAL, Mike Birbiglia, I hoped C.O.G. would be a success. Adapted from an essay of the same name in Sedaris' 1997 autobiographical book, Naked, the film couldn't have been more in-line with Sedaris' dry wit and humorous yet terrifying experiences. David, played decorously by Jonathan Groff, decides to spend his summer in Oregon picking apples alongside immigrants to learn how "real people" live after graduating from Yale. When he's abandoned by the best friend who's supposed to join him on this misanthropic crusade, he ends up on a few misadventures that knock his careless hipster attitude down a few pegs. The story is a great one, taking the themes of religion, sexuality and self-discovery on a unique path that remains true to Sedaris' voice. Though Groff is definitely the star of the film, catching Sedaris' wryness and not-so-subtle pretension to the point, Denis O'Hare gives a standout performance as Jon, the off-balance, born-again Christian vet who leads David through the final act of the film. Sedaris himself has given the film his blessing, and though Alvarez has definitely made the work his own, Sedaris fans won't be disappointed.
Time: 1.26, 9:00 AM Venue: Temple Theare, Park City