Jess Weixler and Justin Long

Words: Rob DeStefano

Director: Ted Koland

Cast: Justin Long, Jess Weixler, Tyler Labine, Addison Timlin

Consensus: An unbearably sentimental denouement nearly undermines Lumpy‘s enjoyable attributes: a bizarre story structure and the warm-hearted, posthumous existence of the title character.

Lumpy is an undeniably strange film by first time director Ted Koland. The set-up is straight forward: Lumpy (Tyler Labine) dies at Kristen (Jess Weixler of Teeth) and Scott’s (Justin Long) destination wedding. Having just lost his best man, Scott feels entitled to cancel the honeymoon and bring the fat corpse back to a wintry Minneapolis for a proper funeral, but after landing in the city, the newlyweds find that the Lumpster has been keeping secrets.

The story takes off from here, splitting into two very distinct tales. The first being Kristen and Scott’s search for answers. The second introducing Ramsey (Addison Timlin of Afterschool), a young teen who lives an unhappy, small town existence five hours north of the city. Both stories share equal screen time until they inevitably coincide late into the runtime. Justin Long is an actor who has grown on me; he knows how far to play his humor in his scenes here, but more importantly, he plays well with others. Long never overshadows the indie ensemble, chiefly his onscreen wife, who is a solid actress, but who lacks the comedic chops that he hones so well. The two make for a believable couple; relationships require communication, that’s certainly not a groundbreaking message, and yet the two are enjoyable to be with. While they exist in a black-comedy setting, Ramsey’s story is far more serious since the stakes are significantly higher. She shares quarters with her vagrant mother and her mother’s deadbeat man. This story, maybe due to its inherent weight, is more exciting for the viewer, especially the interactions between Ramsey and Lumpy (via flashback).

Lumpy‘s major fault lies in its conclusion, which ties up its ends with extreme constriction. It has a warm message about the positive imprints we leave on those around us, but we don’t need to be branded with this message. The film is simply enjoyable, but it probably will not be remembered come Monday.

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