“POTTERSVILLE” is an offbeat comedy you can currently find on Netflix and other streaming services. It boasts a cast with a good amount of potential. Michael Shannon headlines with; Ron Perlman, Ian McShane, Judy Greer, Christina Hendricks and Thomas Lennon all providing supporting roles.
The premise centers on a local businessman (Shannon), beloved by his small community, that during a drunken romp around town, is mistaken for Bigfoot. This causes the small town to draw the eye of the media world and all the attention that comes along with it.
That plot to me felt like one that could potentially deliver plenty of amusement with the irony of the situation alone. This film though, only at times was able to capitalize on it. There are some mild laughs here and there. But unfortunately, the small collection of laughs the script generates, do not equate to making this an effective comedy. The humor is odd, it’s quirky at times, but also a little stale too frequently, keeping it from being a very enjoyable film to sit through.
I can appreciate simple, even dumb humor, but when there isn’t a consistent story to hold it all together, the result is usually a letdown. That was the case here. The story was lifeless, and there was nothing really appealing to connect you with the lead character played by Shannon. You can feel for his situation, but it doesn’t equal out to his actions. His motivation didn’t feel natural so there was a lack of substance to invest in story-wise. His character makes a lot of decisions that felt unrealistic. Feeling like choices being made to simply keep the plot moving, not something a rational person would actually do.
The tone felt off as well. During some moments it felt like a tame Hallmark Channel movie. Then others it would toy around with theme of sexual fetishes, and the combination did not work well together. There was a group of weird characters that could have added to the laughs, but it didn’t translate that way. The film also wants you to feel sympathetic for a dishonest man, simply because he is a good guy in his community. That can work for a crazy comedy when down right, but how this film tries to make a hero out of him just comes off as forced and sappy.
The performances do help carry a dull story-line. Shannon has his moments of odd humor. Ian McShane delivers some solid scenes as well, and certainly makes the most out of his more grounded character. Ron Perlman was just there, he didn’t have much to work with, but he has a couple comical scenes. In particular with McShane late in the second-act. Thomas Lennon brings in some humor as this eccentric reality TV personality but his schtick did get old quickly.
The cast as a whole do what they can with the writing they had to work with. The familiar faces do add something to this uneven comedy, but none were able to save it. The laughs were too few and far between, and the run-time does start to drag with the predictability factor being on the high end. If you have a wide range of comedic taste, you may find some laughs. But as a person who loves a variety of comedic styles myself, this one was instantly forgettable and does not utilize the cast like it could have.