Seattle filmmaker’s ‘Dizzle’ a doozy

  • Thu Aug 26th, 2010 8:43pm
  • Life

By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic

The trials and tribulations of the janitorial life are given a hysterical spin — well, series of spins — in “The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle,” a sneaky indie that certainly can’t be accused of doing the same old thing.

Once you get past its title, the movie comes across as the kind of scenario that might be dreamed up by a bored janitor on the job, if that janitor also had aspirations to make a movie someday. Perhaps that describes Seattle-based filmmaker David Russo, whose first feature this is. Russo’s movie bounces merrily from the wearying realities of custodial work to surrealism and playful sci-fi.

Young hero Dory (Marshall Allman, lately seen on “True Blood”) is fired from an office job, so he takes work cleaning in an office building. We meet his fellow laborers and get into the rhythms of the late-night world of bathroom-cleaning.

The plot hinges on Dory and his pals sampling some cookies that have been left over from a product-testing office. These prototypes weren’t actually meant to be eaten; their distinguishing feature is that they heat up when they are consumed — just like they’re fresh from the oven.

Unfortunately, the cookies have qualities that are not only addictive but procreative. And the latter point takes “Little Dizzle” in some startling directions in its final crazy act.

There’s enough that’s inventive about this movie to make me wish I liked it more. Its shot-on-video look is underwhelming (the Seattle locations are well-chosen), although digital was probably necessary to accommodate some of the more elaborate special effects that periodically erupt.

The overall cult vibe, with its gallery of trippy characters and capacity for magical realism, would not be out of place in an arthouse picture of the early 1970s. If all this sounds like a good mix, you might be the audience.

“Little Dizzle” has a steady presence at the center in Allman, and a blessedly insane turn from co-star Vince Vieluf. The latter has been an obnoxious presence in various movies lately, and his high energy and speed-riffing style give this film an extremely welcome dose of oomph.