Monty Miranda's Skills Like This boasts the arguable distinction of being the first film produced in Colorado to be picked up for distribution. This quirky, Sundance-lite comedy took home an Audience Award at 2007's SXSW, maybe because Miranda makes Denver look like your average college-slacker town, where meaningful jobs don't exist and everyone convenes at Señor Burrito's for endless chips and salsa. Three guys in particular are regulars: Max (Spencer Berger), a playwright who's just realized he's no good; Tommy (Brian D. Phelan), a loutish loudmouth; and timid Dave (Gabriel Tigerman), whose office job and girlfriend look like staggering accomplishments compared to his friends' lack thereof. Having just witnessed his latest play collapse, Max robs the bank across the street on a whim and discovers robbery's the only thing he's good at. And it's at this point—not 15 minutes in—that Skills morphs from a stylishly shot slacker-comedy to an obnoxious quirk-fest. The trio—Max as the Ben Stiller nebbish type, Tommy as the Will Ferrell, Dave as the Michael Cera—are appealing enough, but Skills thinks it's far more magically whimsical than it really is. Instead of an ode to jumpstarting your life, it just proves that Denver isn't too far from Happy, Texas.
Whimsy at gunpoint.
Runs at SIFF Cinema, Fri., April 3–Thurs., April 9. Not rated. 88 minutes.