Multimedia performer Miranda July plays Christine Jesperson, an old folks’ cab driver and struggling artist. She meets an emotionally neurotic shoe salesman, bruised from a broken marriage and trying to manage two kids, and an unconventional liaison develops.
Writer-director Miranda July has got a bad case of the quirk in her tableau of damaged suburbia Me And You And Everyone We Know – busy with self-consciously eccentric moments, the debut feature from this video and performance artist whimpers with wistful indie nuance as often as it manages to sweetly amuse. Multimedia performer July plays Christine Jesperson, an old folks’ cab driver and struggling artist. She meets an emotionally neurotic shoe salesman (Hawkes) bruised from a broken marriage and trying to manage two kids (Thompson and Ratcliff, both excellent) and an unconventional liaison develops. Meanwhile, the eldest son takes the blow job Pepsi challenge with two neighbourhood girls out to woo a lonely thirty-something schlub, and the youngest engages in an online faeces fetish with the uptight art dealer Christine is trying to impress. Paedophilia, naturally, being the modern just-add-water cred of the arthouse auteur. July’s suspiciously contrived awkwardness notwithstanding, the picture is at its best when it cleaves to her experimental video aesthetic; as when characters mouth the words of others in audio disharmony, or July mimics the voice of an infant, framing the mundane with the wonder of a child-like perspective. It’s here that the film hints at an original and beguiling flavour, and July’s observations, wedded to a pensive electronic score, prove a misty antidote to everyday malaise. The character plots, though, are at best Solondz-lite. July lacks the conviction to explore the seedier notions she throws forth like topical shock tactics, especially when she ultimately reveals a weakness for the sickly tang of twee romance in spite of the circumstances.