Title: Fishbowl California
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Director: Michael A. MacRae
Starring: Steve Olson, Katherine Cortez, Quinton Aaron, Katrina Bowden, Jenna Willis
Runtime: 83 Minutes
What It Is: Unemployed and unwillingly single, Rodney (Steve Olson) suddenly finds himself homeless on top of everything else. A dying vehicle leaves him stranded in front of ailing widow June’s (Katherine Cortez) house and introduces his chaos to her defiant life.
What We Think: Fishbowl California has just the right amount of awkwardness to hit its intended comedy note, but unfortunately not enough to inspire the heart. One can feel the desperation Rodney’s predicament inspires; his lack of job, his suddenly single predicament, his ailing car; all bunched into a heart-tugging run of luck that should make you want to save him, or at least feel bad. But Rodney is anything but a victim if anything he seems to be the driver to his own demise. His constant smirk, his complete lack of effort, compounded with an attitude that is more cringe-worthy than savvy snapback, it’s hard to find a connection to a character lacking any quality worth noting. Even the connection June forms seem confusing as her character seems more kick-ass, no-nonsense, in a way that would be intolerant of such a beta male. Even their special moment at the end seemed meh, and almost insulting when you discover the lack of change.
Our Grade: C, Strong female characters lead the film with dominance. It’s refreshing to see women written as mostly unaccepting of lost males, but June’s emotional switch, even given a hefty back and forth, isn’t really as funny or endearing as seems to be intended. It’s interesting to see a film where the character, in fact, does not learn a lesson or change his ways. Rodney is Rodney, even with a blink and you’ll miss it historical justification presented to the audience; but the deadpan and almost complete lack of self-improvement leave for an okay ending to an okay film.