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|
|Edited by||Christian Larson|
|Distributed by||Inferno Distribution (international sales)
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 (sic), is a hairless, overweight, eccentric social misfit obsessed with Switzerland, walking around in nothing but Briefs and mismatching socks even outdoors (but wears a parka jacket when going farther) with a wig alternating between five of, and lives on a diet consisting of just Moxie soda and pickles with mustard, living alone in an almost bare apartment, keeping his many empty soda bottles in a rundown building complex in Southern California populated with other eccentrics, including cynical stoner Tommy Balls, neurotic geriatric recluse Mr. Allspice annoyed by Franklin's alphorn but paints scenes of macabre, and the aspiring dancer Simone living with her friend, (although it is implied that they might be prostitutes) across the courtyard who Franklin spies on with binoculars, and not clear how he financially supports himself as he appears to be unemployed.
In a flashback, Franklin's landlord Mr. Olivetti accidentally died slipping on spilled mustard caused by sneezing fits when receiving fellatio from Franklin over frequent unpaid rent. In an effort to get rid of the Olivetti's body, Franklin takes it to Olivetti's house and tries to stage it as a suicide, implementing an unlikely over array of suicide methods. Attempting to dump Olivetti's pickup truck that also has a gun in the far town outskirts causes Franklin to be robbed and assaulted by two very dimwitted muggers, of his brother's watch and Olivetti's truck.
The next day, Franklin wondering why he hasn't gotten his weekly audiotape from his brother Bernard who's institutionalized, has died of an inoperable brain tumor, unknown to Franklin, who Franklin almost idolizes as Bernard was handsome, charismatic and popular and included Franklin in his social life. 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 Franklin a savings in a Swiss bank account and a passport in a new identity. Meanwhile, Burt Walnut, a fire investigator and other detectives examine Olivetti's body, and quickly conclude that it's staged due to Franklin's amateurishness, and put a lookout for his pickup truck. Walnut, visiting the apartment complex, meets Balls and Allspice and becomes suspicious of Franklin. It is revealed that Walnut is estranged from his wife, who was having an affair with his cousin and Allspice's wife died round the time Olietti's did and Allspice's been there for 13 years.
Working at his convenience store, Balls shatters Simone's dancing dreams by his brutal honesty; upset, she refuges in the restroom and Balls is then held up by Franklin's muggers, shooting Balls in the torso when startled by Simone before fleeing. Franklin returns to his apartment, but seeing the police, keeps on driving. Walnut discovers that Allspice has committed suicide, (likely upset over the death of Olivetti as Allspice revealed that they were close friends) and when answering a phone by Franklin calling, is asked to adopt Franklin's dog (also named Bernard), Walnut informs of Franklin's muggers arrest, caught driving Olivetti's pickup truck and has labeled them as Olivetti's murderers, remarking of Olivetti that "some might say that he had it coming to him".
Although innocent of implications, Franklin takes his Swissair flight (completely dressed in formal attire), sitting next to Dr. Sage Mennox, a self-help author who was obsessed over by Bernard telling him that he wasn't insane but had a brain tumor, that his diagnosis was incorrect, and at the end, has made friends with many attractive Swiss women in traditional Swiss dress.
- 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
- Noel Gugliemi as Dog walker (driving instructor samaritan)
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.