By: Nick van Dinther
Hollywood is often criticized for rehashing the same ideas repeatedly without bringing anything new to the table. At the very least, Infinity Baby bucks that trend and brings us something we haven’t seen before.
Set in a black-and-white world where abortion has become illegal, a company known as Infinity Baby has created the technology to supply people with 3-month old babies that never age. The film follows various employees of the company throughout their everyday lives, and also deals with many of the challenges they face. What follows is an absurd and awkward film that’s actually quite funny.
Infinity Baby is a character driven film that thrives on a few stand-out performances and a great use of deadpan humour. The entire thing plays more like a comedy sketch than a movie, which leaves it lacking a little in the way of substance. However, that isn’t as noticeable since the whole thing wraps up in under 80 minutes. The director uses smart writing and a nearly uncomfortable use of silence to get the jokes across and create some genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
The cast of Infinity Baby really shines. The majority of the story follows Kieran Culkin’s Ben, a neurotic monogamist who becomes increasingly unlikeable as things progress – Culkin does a good job carrying his weight. He is joined by Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Stephen Root, who give satisfying performances of their own. However, Malcolm and Larry (Martin Starr and Kevin Corrigan) really steal the show. They provide some of the funniest and most heartfelt moments in the film, and their part of the story is easily the most interesting arch. The duo’s dynamic and the chemistry between Starr and Corrigan are true testaments to the talent of the actors and screenwriter Onur Tukel (Catfight). The other stand-out is Trieste Kelly Dunn, who plays the likeable and bubbly Alison. Dunn’s performance is an example of an actor committing to their role out of pure enjoyment for the character.
In the same way Tukel takes chances with his script, filmmaker Bob Byington also does so with his directorial vision but with mixed results. Byington includes some impressive albeit tricky cinematography, such as a first-person sequence that makes the viewer feel like they are physically sitting in on a scene. What doesn’t work though is the musical score. Luckily, the music is primarily used for transitions as opposed to playing in the background, but the chosen selections are still very jarring. Music should be a companion to a movie, not a factor that clashes with it. The black-and-white visuals also don’t entirely pay off. This technique can be used to enhance a film, but it detracts the audience’s attention in Infinity Baby.
Despite those hiccups, Infinity Baby is an enjoyable movie with interesting characters interacting within an original story. In today’s film industry, that’s a rarity.
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Nick van Dinther: @NickVanDinther