How To Be Oliver Irving

How To Be Oliver Irving
Looking to cash in on the adolescent Twilight craze surrounding resident caveman Robert Pattinson, the DVD cover of How To Be has only a portrait of the brooding Brit staring wistfully off into the yonder, much like those 99-cent bargain DVDs at Wal-Mart featuring Jodie Foster in Shocked. While this will certainly sell a few copies of the British import to excitable young ladies (I went to University with a girl that collected Devon Sawa movies, so anything is possible), it is unlikely that the Stephenie Meyer crowd will know what to do with a dry comedy about an existential crisis, or really anything not cured by shopping. Material goods are not the only things Art (Pattinson) struggles with here, being a listless 20something working at a supermarket who has to move back in with his parents after being dumped by his girlfriend. His parents (Rebecca Pidgeon, Michael Irving) openly admit embarrassment for their loser son, leaving him to seek external guidance, in the form of a Canadian self-help guru by the name of Dr. Ellington (Powell Jones). Since Art tends to interpret things literally and struggles with basic communication, coming off as mildly schizophrenic, his journey of self-actualization proves quite amusing and awkward, in a dry, British way. For example, a visit to his childhood home finds him crawling into a stranger's bed while said stranger stands there befuddled and speechless. There is an abundance of moments like these, which play on peculiarities literally, leaving a sense of discomfort throughout. It's like a less flamboyant Napoleon Dynamite, with a low-budget Barry Levinson feel. Included with the DVD are C-word-laden special features, with both a "behind the scenes" and "making of," which essentially show the cast and crew flipping each other off and pulling pranks. A brief interview with Rebecca Pidgeon amusingly shows the Mamet regular calling the film "interesting," in a slightly disapproving manner. Also included are a feature commentary, an interview with Robert Pattinson and his audition tape. (Alliance)