The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle: The Feature Debut of Local Director David Russo

Very much to his credit, Seattle film-maker David Russo has never tried to go Hollywood, isn't part of the Capitol Hill cognoscenti, and has resolutely made unique stop-motion shorts, some with his own 35mm camera, for two decades. Yet he finally decided to direct a feature, which debuted at Sundance and played SIFF last year—a seeming triumph, right? Not quite. "It was a nightmare," he told SW last year. Accustomed to working in solitude without artistic compromises, he struggled with the demands of actors, budgets, and narrative. That frustration shows in the uneven but engaging Little Dizzle, named for a blue squirming thingamajig birthed from a guy's ass—essentially a miscarriage for men. Which sounds gross, but the movie is by turns comic, angry, and spiritual. (It's also filled with camera effects and animations among the actors.) The guys are members of a late-night janitorial crew offered unlimited free samples of a bioengineered new cookie that becomes addictive. As a side-effect, cramps and mood swings indicate something is growing inside them. Meanwhile, they quarrel about love, art, and spiritual perfection, which may well have been the conversational topics when Russo also worked as a janitor to support his art. However, the pregnancy plot—like Knocked Up for dudes—doesn't quite harness these tangents. Little Dizzle's best moments are montages of the janitors at work, the imagined path of a fish swimming through Seattle, a sparkler-sketched creation that becomes an animate creature in the sky. In such lyrical, visual passages, you forgive Russo's patchy dialogue and rants. 

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