May 24, 2023
I didn't have high hopes going in. I'm not a big Novak fan and the Texas setting didn't sound too appealing. But Novak delivers a quirky, enjoyable, and slyly funny mystery with light noir touches. Perfectly fine filler, until the ending comes along, and almost out of nowhere Kutcher's monologue cuts way deeper than expected.
Ben is a respected writer, who wants to get into the podcast business. When he is contacted by the family of Abilene (a random fling), telling him she died of an overdose, Ben finds an ideal subject for his podcast. Her brother believes she was murdered, together they try to figure out the real story behind Abilene's death.
The mix of mystery and gentle dark comedy is pleasant, Novak does pretty well as lead/director (not an easy combination) and the pacing is solid. The structure of the narrative is a little bland and predictable, but the finale is sharp and pointed and makes sure the film ends on a high note. Here's to hoping Novak sticks with making feature films.