Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Transformation of Gerald Baumgartner Movie Review

The Transformation of Gerald BaumgartnerThe Transformation of Gerald Baumgartner (2009) is a tremendously quirky dark comedy wrapped up in the blanket of life (or better yet, an afgan with those annoying holes your toes poke out of). Gerald (Randall Malin) is an uptight man, seemingly with obsessive-compulsive disorder, that leads a very structured life as a Change Management Consultant for Smith Jakari.

He meticulously washes his toupee with a toothbrush each morning while learning how to speak with an Indian accent to sound more powerful; he makes his side of the bed while his wife is still sleeping and lays out his clothes for the day. Then it's off to the kitchen where he individually wraps cookies in bakers paper for his lunch.


Gerald heads off to a meeting with a new client, pulling a name plate out of his briefcase and speaking slowly about what a reason to change could be and asking what their reason is. Back at his office, after putting his name plate down, he lines up his model airplanes on his desk with a ruler and pulls out his organizer. One of his most exciting things in his life is that they added a third column to the organizer that revolutionizes organization and planning. He awkwardly calls Tom into his office to share his dream about Sara (office employee); she advanced at him and his is extremly proud to have warded her off...in his dream. You can see it in his eyes that he wonders what if he didn't resist; the change has begun.

At another meeting with his client he is introduced to Christiana (Melissa Fischer). She is an outgoing vibrant beautiful women that makes eye contact with him. After her sensual presentation about making technology more personal by embracing it and using adds that show nude people pressed against it, she whispers in his ear (because he liked it), saying you are the most real person in the room. These events set him off day dreaming; inventing a kiss that accompanied the whisper and becoming intrigued with her. He decides to call her and leave a message and send her a follow up email to meet up - yes, the odd creepy married office guy is asking her out for some ice cream.

He begins planning his meeting with her while compromising his work and home life. A spark for life begins to build when she accepts and while on a trip to his in-laws he snaps a little at his wife, Adrian (Carolyn Koskan), and kids for singing because he is planning his Saturday park outing with Christiana. Because she loves to paint cats he plans an event involving a cat that will make him look like a hero; it doesnt go down as planned. The are seemingly getting close and he is hopping to be with her, but first must get his wife to leave him. He starts trying to coax her into doing extra activities with men he knows to set her up so that she will leave him. His obsession with her grows out of control with more misteps and miscues leading up to a big change for him.

8 out of 10 - Beautifully rich cinematography accompanies excellent writing and direction by Clain Udy. Randall's (Gerald) performance was exceptionally uncomfortably odd (on purpose!). This is a fun movie but also shows what happens when you think you want a change in your life; and that life, no matter how planned, is unpredictable. The DVD is available from Amazon.

(Production still of Gerald - click here for more)