Uncle Kent 2 is completely off-the-wall and off-its-rocker. Then again, it’s exactly what one would expect from animator Kent Osborne, whose back catalogue consists of Adventure Time episodes and a co-writer credit on The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
In 2011, indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Netflix’s Easy) made a movie about Osborne. I haven’t seen the film, but I can only assume it followed Swanberg’s method of loose narrative – allowing actors to fill in any negative space with their own ideas. Uncle Kent 2 takes a meta approach by having Osborne propose a sequel to Swanberg. Swanberg declines but gives Kent his blessing to make the movie. From there, the film changes face and directors (the credits state the first 12-minutes were directed by Swanberg, and the remaining duration was directed by Todd Rohal), and the audience observes Kent’s trip to the San Diego Comic-Con while he brainstorms a script for his movie.
Uncle Kent 2 is a depiction of a loaner who wears a “member’s only” jacket to his own club. It’s essentially how I wished Noah Baumbach’s handled his Greenberg character – with equal zeal and contempt towards his character’s achievements and neuroses. Since Kent Osborne can’t maintain long-running focus, the filmmaker literally emulates that by providing Kent with amusing dream sequences and tangents (with animation by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward). Osborne also has difficulty defining his personality and taste. In response, Rohal refuses to pigeonhole his absurd film to a singular genre – the director skims through rom-coms, thrillers, broad comedies, and much more. It’s a fitting directorial decision that perfectly illustrates Kent’s apprehension and confusion towards the world around him. Uncle Kent 2 is not so much a narratively-driven movie as it is a 73-minute immersive fantasy inside the mind of a madcap schmuck.
There’s a lot to admire and shamelessly laugh at in Uncle Kent 2. This trippy flick is the epitome of a midnight madness cult classic.
MDFF presents an exclusive screening of Uncle Kent 2 at Toronto’s The Royal Cinema on Tuesday, October 4 at 8:00pm. Buy advance tickets here!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie