C.O.G.: Funny in Print, Dour Onscreen

Jonathan Groff in C.O.G.
David King
Jonathan Groff in C.O.G.

Location Info

Map

O Cinema

90 NW 29th St.
Miami, FL 33127

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Midtown/Wynwood/Design District

Details

Starring Troian Bellisario, Jonathan Groff, and Dale Dickey. Written and Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez. Based on the story by David Sedaris. 88 minutes. Not rated. Available on demand. Opens Friday, Sepember 20, at O Cinema, 90 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-571-9970; o-cinema.org.

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Kyle Patrick Alvarez's C.O.G. is the first film to be based on the work of David Sedaris. It's clearly a passion project for Alvarez, and the picture is faithful to the events of the autobiographical story "C.O.G.," about Sedaris working in rural Oregon to see how "real" people live (and to cheese off his father in the process). But the choice not to include narration robs the movie of Sedaris' voice, and consequently much of its joy, as does the decision to portray the character of David (Jonathan Groff) as a smug, Yale-educated atheist who's running away from home because his mother rejected him for being gay. What was very funny in print becomes serious and occasionally dour onscreen, with fewer laughs than you would expect from a Sedaris project. The faithfulness to the original story is almost jarring for those who've read it, because the character has been changed into an insufferable nozzle, playing up the worst stereotypes of the intellectual atheist, so when amusing, Sedaris-specific details appear, they no longer fit this version of David. Still, if C.O.G. opens the floodgates for Sedaris adaptations, here's hoping someone (maybe even Alvarez, who has the chops) will do justice to "The Santaland Diaries."

 
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