We’ve all had a friend we can’t shake. Either they can’t leave us alone or we can’t stop seeing them. We know they’re probably bad for us. It doesn’t matter.
In The Mimic, the Narrator (Thomas Sadoski) befriends the Kid (Jake Robinson), a youthful-looking adult who can’t seem to stop mimicking our hero in ways big and small. The Narrator is convinced the Kid is a sociopath. Seeing as he’s a recent widower with not much else to do, our hero sets out to determine if his hunch is correct. He ends up learning a little something about himself along the way.
Writer-director Thomas Mazziotti has a stellar cast for this fast-paced situational comedy. Robinson and Sadoski aside, he fills the supporting cast — no character names, only general titles — with cameos by recognizable actresses and actors like Jessica Walter, Tammy Blanchard, Marilu Henner, Gina Gershon and M. Emmet Walsh, to name a few. These are mostly small roles, delivering lines to push things along, but nice to see.
As a whole, The Mimic floats in and out of being compelling and comedic and frustratingly unfunny. It’s at its best when Robinson and Sadoski engage in fast-paced dialogue; it’s at its worst when, for whatever reason, the movie gets too clever for its own good. One particular fourth-wall breaking scene is incoherently placed and grating. I was also unconvinced by the emotional weight of the final moments, as they felt eventual; the tension of whether or not the Kid is a sociopath, and not just an incredibly strange and awkward man, feels answered long before, and from that point forward we know what the movie will ultimately Be About.
Perhaps the moments that don’t work stand out because, as far as micro-budget two-hander comedy films go, this one at times feels like a standout. The leads are both good. Their back-and-forth dialogue has a good vibe. Supporting characters pop in and make for funny situations. If you can stomach a few extremely unnecessary flourishes and a handful of jokes that don’t land, The Mimic is a movie you won’t need to shake.