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    Too Much Sleep

    The guardin' state

    A drowsy young security guard's misadventure takes us on a darkly funny tour of deepest, strangest New Jersey in "Too Much Sleep."


    (Originally reviewed during one-time showing in June 1999 and limited run in October 2000 at Anthology Film Archives.)

    Jack lives — for those without a clear sense of New Jersey geography — just a few minutes away from the guys in "Clerks," but he's no ultrahip, wisecracking convenience-store clerk. Jack is a good-looking but not especially alert young security guard sleepwalking through his bland post-high-school life. Until something happens while he's not paying attention.

    Written and directed by: David Maquiling.
    Cast: Marc Palmieri, Pasquale Gaeta, Nicol Zanzarella, Philip Galinsky, Judy Sabo Podinker.
    Cinematography: Robert Mowen.

    Related links: Official site
    One day on the bus to work, a pretty young woman distracts Jack, and the next time he opens his eyes she's gone and so is his gun. Now he's in big trouble with his job and the law, but how will he ever find the girl and the gun?

    A buddy of Jack's sends him to his uncle, Eddie, a retired guy who spends every day in the local deli talking about nothing with the rest of the old-timers. (Sample conversation: "Those orientals, boy, let me tell you, they're very hard-working, very disciplined." "And you gotta love their pork fried rice!" "You ain't kiddin'!") It's strange advice to get in touch with Uncle Eddie, but, as it turns out, perfect. Eddie used to be an assistant clerk in the town and he knows how to get things done and find things out.

    Too Much Sleep  
    The quest for the gun takes Jack, Eddie and us on a tour of deepest suburban New Jersey that would make you think of David Lynch except for one thing — filmmaker David Maquiling never thrusts bizarre psychopathic characters in your face. The people in this film are disturbingly normal. They may be thieves or homoerotic raquetball-massage enthusiasts or sensitive songwriting male-stripper thugs, but they're also your friends and neighbors. One of the great things about "Too Much Sleep" is that it doesn't attack the well-worn all-American manicured-lawn happy-family myth; it embraces it in all its real-life silliness.

      Too Much Sleep
    And it does so with a subtle wit. There are almost no obvious punch lines in the whole film but a lot of laughs if you have the right sense of humor. Like the low-speed chase from one strip mall to another. Like a guy who can go around threatening, "I was deputy county clerk in this town for 19 years, and if you don't tell us what we want to know you're going to find yourself in deep trouble." Like the climactic fight scene, which could be right out of any mob movie except for one inspired twist, which I'm not going to give away here.

    "Too Much Sleep" is not only a wickedly smart piece of work by writer-director Maquiling (who in his spare time serves as festival director of the excellent New Filmmakers series). It also features a strong if intentionally dim performance as the perpetually dazed Jack by lead actor Marc Palmieri, who has done TV and theater work in New York (including, more recently, his own play "Carl the Second"). And Brooklyn-born actor-comedian Pasquale Gaeta is a show-stealer, getting uncle Eddie so right you want to ask him what exit he lives on.

    OCTOBER 1, 2000

    Reader comments on Too Much Sleep:

  • i like   from "old english", Oct 2, 2000
  • i liked it   from fschutta, Oct 8, 2000
  • We thought it was absolutely GREAT!   from Faye, Mar 21, 2001
  • Too Much Sleep   from bill dick, Mar 29, 2001

  • Post a comment on "Too Much Sleep"