In ‘Loitering With Intent,’ Two Actors Head to the Country in the Name of Creativity

Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei in Loitering With Intent.
Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei in Loitering With Intent.

The holiday feast is over. Now for the leftovers. At the movies, January always unleashes a flood of second-rung features with little or no box-office appeal that didn’t make the cut for last year’s year-end awards contenders. Get ready for a surfeit of also-rans.

(1/4 stars)

Written by: Michael Godere and Ivan Martin
Directed by:
Adam Rapp
Starring: Ivan Martin, Michael Godere and Marisa Tomei
Running time: 80 min.

Loitering with Intent is a meandering little bore about a pair of struggling actors looking for a breakthrough movie even if they have to write it themselves. Art imitates life, sort of, because Ivan Martin and Michael Godere, the two actors who play the actors in the movie, also wrote the screenplay. And Adam Rapp, a respected writer of Off-Broadway plays, is this time the director. The rest of the ensemble cast pitched in as co-producers. The tiny, inconsequential little movie they knocked themselves out wearing different hats to complete is, I am sorry to say, hardly worth the effort. I wish them all better luck next time.

Raphael (Mr. Martin) and Dominic (Mr. Godere) are two actor pals who are going no place so fast that they’ve been reduced to the status of bartenders. Caught up in a lie about a fake screenplay they’ve written about two detective brothers (with leading roles for each other), they suddenly find themselves with an accidental producer offering real money and only 10 days to deliver the completed script and jump-start their careers. For what they hope will be undisturbed quiet and uninterrupted inspiration, they head for a remote country house in upstate New York owned by Dominic’s sister Gigi (Marisa Tomei) to concentrate. But before they can even dream up a plot, their sanctuary is invaded by Gigi, her sexy friend Ava (Isabelle McNally), Gigi’s hostile and neurotic boyfriend Wayne (Sam Rockwell, wasted again), and Wayne’s bird-brained younger brother Devon (Brian Geraghty), who has a reality TV show about “surfing with the stars.”

Chaos reigns in a mash-up of strained relationships as stale as they are contrived. Raphael and Devon both fall for Ava, Ava likes Wayne, Wayne pines for Gigi, and it all results in resurrected resentments, old jealousies, unrequited lusts and 80 minutes of name-calling. The ensemble rattles its jaws but says nothing new. There’s not much evidence that either Mr. Martin or Mr. Godere can act, much less write a screenplay. And Mr. Rapp’s lazy direction is so devoid of shrewd wit, unique perspective or decisive sense of a recognizable comedic tone that the actors have no other choice but to waft through it benignly. There’s a marshmallow roast, but even that diversionary tactic lacks relevance. The entire enterprise seems to be about a bunch of talented, misguided people just killing time. The movie partially lives up to its name because everyone in it loiters, but with no apparent intent. In ‘Loitering With Intent,’ Two Actors Head to the Country in the Name of Creativity