“The Sidekick” is the latest project from Rob Benedict, and after we spoke to him about it, we had to see it—which we got to this weekend—and it was everything we hoped it would be and more. It’s entertaining, it’s amusing, it’s cliché at times (but in a good way), and it’s a must-see even for non-superhero fans.
First and foremost, when Benedict told us that “The Sidekick” was really about the underdog, using superheroes as an allegory, we had no idea just how right he was until we watched it. Yes, it is clearly a movie about superheroes and sidekicks, but besides the costumes and the brief mentions of their jobs, it very much plays a secondary role throughout most of the story, with everything Max goes through from the moment he’s fired exactly what anyone who has been fired (or really, even broken up with) could go through in everyday life. And instead of being done in a way that could be too “in your face,” it’s done in a way that works, which we have to credit to the writing, directing, and acting. Even in a world where superheroes are the norm, there are still the usual problems anyone would face, with technology, laundry, and finding a place to live, jerks in the profession and sympathy from a surprising source (in this case, a villain), late night television to keep Max preoccupied while unemployed, terrible and unfortunate job interviews, that awkward run-in with the old boss and the person who took over your job, and finally, finding a place where you can fit in and a new job you love to the point that you don’t want that old job back.
What also makes “The Sidekick” so much fun is how funny it is from start to finish. Sure, there are a few cliché moments and lines, some of those catchphrases are more worthy of a raised eyebrow than a laugh, and moments like Max “coming to the rescue” of the kid in the Laundromat as the Closed sign slipped to show he still had it were a bit on the lame side, but it all came together in a final package that worked. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not, and that’s why moments that may not be the strongest don’t mean it’s not worth checking out if you have the chance.
What also helps is that the cast could not have been better, starting with Rob Benedict as Max and going down to those who were only in a couple of minutes during his job interviews post-firing. The chemistry is spot on between Benedict and Lizzy Caplan, which makes their conversation in the park even better, and any conversation that includes a guy’s complete lack of knowledge when it comes to where to buy a handbag done the way they did it is pretty much guaranteed to be a win. If this does get made into a series of some sort, like Benedict is hoping it will be, it would be nice to see some of the side characters fleshed out more, if only to see more from the actors portraying them. This is definitely one project we hope to see more of in some form in the future.
“The Sidekick” stars Rob Benedict, Ron Livingston, Lizzy Caplan, Jordan Peele, Ike Barinholtz, Josh Meyers, Jason Ritter, Martin Starr, Sam McMurray, Fred Stoller, Laura Silverman, Richard Speight Jr., Brad Grunberg, Devin Barry, and Brooke Smith. Check out promotional photos above in the slideshow.
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