Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonas Åkerlund|
|Produced by||Ash R. Shah
Timothy Wayne Peternel
|Screenplay by||Chris Millis|
|Based on||Small Apartments
by Chris Millis
|Music by||Per Gessle|
|Cinematography||Pär M. Ekberg|
|Editing by||Christian Larson|
|Distributed by||Inferno Distribution (international sales)
|Running time||97 minutes|
Small Apartments is a 2012 American comedy film directed by Jonas Åkerlund. It tells the story of Franklin Franklin, played by Matt Lucas, who by mistake kills his landlord, played by Peter Stormare. The cast co-stars Dolph Lundgren, Johnny Knoxville, James Caan, Billy Crystal, Juno Temple, Rebel Wilson, Saffron Burrows and Amanda Plummer. The screenplay was written by Chris Millis and adapted from his own novella. The film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 10, 2012.
Franklin Franklin, a hairless, extremely naive eccentric obsessed with Switzerland, lives alone in an apartment complex populated with other eccentrics, including drug-addled Tommy Balls, grouchy old Mr. Allspice, and the young dancer aspiring Simone across the way who Franklin sometimes watches through binoculars. Before the film begins, Franklin has accidentally killed his landlord, Mr. Olivetti during a rent argument. In an effort to get rid of the body, he takes it back to Olivetti's house and tries to stage it as a suicide, including accidentally setting it on fire, which he quickly extinguishes. Attempting to dump Olivetti's pickup truck that has a gun leads to Franklin being assaulted in the far town outskirts by two very dimwitted thugs, and robbed of a watch his brother gave him and the truck.
The next day, Franklin discovers that his brother Bernard, who was self-committed to a hospital some time ago, has died of an inoperable brain tumor, that he did not tell Franklin about. Among Bernard's effects is an envelope holding a key; the key is to a locker containing a recorded message revealing that Bernard stole from his employer and has left his brother a large sum of money in a Swiss bank account and a passport in a new identity. Meanwhile, police investigator Burt Walnut, visiting the apartment complex, talks to Franklin's neighbors and becomes suspicious of him. It is revealed that Walnut is estranged from his wife, who was having an affair with his cousin.
At his convenience store job, Tommy Balls argues with Simone; upset, she hides in the restroom. The thugs who beat up Franklin rob the store and shoot Tommy in the gut, startled by Simone before fleeing. Franklin returns to his apartment, but, seeing the police, keeps going, abandoning his dog (also named Bernard) to Burt Walnut. Walnut and the other detectives discover Olivetti's body at his house, but quickly conclude that it's staged due to Franklin's amateurishness, and put a lookout for his pickup truck. Franklin calls Mr. Allspice to ask that he look after his dog, but is told by Walnut of Allspice's suicide and the arrest of the thugs, caught driving Olivetti's pickup truck.
In the epilogue, Walnut, who has adopted Franklin's dog, returns to his wife and Franklin travels to Switzerland.
- Matt Lucas as Franklin Franklin
- James Caan as Mr. Allspice, Franklin's neighbor in 244
- Johnny Knoxville as Tommy Balls, the neighbor on the other side, who works at Tag's Liquor
- Billy Crystal as Burt Walnut, the fire investigator looking into Mr. Olivetti's death
- Juno Temple as Simone, who lives across the way from Franklin
- James Marsden as Bernard Franklin, Franklin's brother who lives in a mental hospital
- Peter Stormare as Mr. Olivetti, the landlord
- David Koechner as Detective O'Grady
- DJ Qualls as Artie, night clerk at Tag's Liquor
- Rosie Perez as Ms. Baker, nurse at the hospital
- Amanda Plummer as Mrs. Ballisteri, Tommy Balls' Mother
- Dolph Lundgren as Dr. Sage Mennox
- Saffron Burrows as Francine
- Rebel Wilson as Rocky, Tommy Balls' girlfriend
- Ned Bellamy as Daniel, the EMT
- Angela Lindvall as Lisa, the flight attendant
- David Warshofsky as Detective McGee
The film was produced through Deep Sky, Silver Nitrate, Amuse Entertainment and Bonnie Timmerman. It was co-financed by Sense And Sensibility Ventures and Silver Nitrate. According to director Jonas Åkerlund, it was important for him that the production had a strong element of spontaneity; he therefore did not focus solely on the film like he had with his previous features, but also made 34 commercials and five music videos the same year. Small Apartments was made largely with the same crew Åkerlund uses in his other projects. The first actor to be cast was Matt Lucas in the lead. Photography took 20 days and ended in April 2011.
John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "Small Apartments might crumble if not cemented by a compellingly weird performance by Little Britain's Matt Lucas", and that "even the scene-chewingest performance here (Peter Stormare as the sleazoid landlord, seen in flashback) augments the whole instead of drawing attention from it". DeFore also complimented Billy Crystal, writing that his performance "roots the picture to its ostensible genre while reminding us how engaging the actor can be when he's appearing not to try. "
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- Kay, Jeremey (2011-01-25). "Matt Lucas joins Akerlund comedy Small Apartments". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- Renninger, Bryce J. (2012-03-14). "Jonas Akerlund Talks His Busy 2011, Making Bizarro New Feature 'Small Apartments' Along with 34 Commercials and 5 Music Videos". indieWire. SnagFilms. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- McNary, Dave (2012-02-01). "SXSW unveils film lineup". Variety. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- DeFore, John (2012-03-15). "Small Apartments: SXSW Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-03-15.