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Ned Crowley stresses “comedy” in his offbeat desert kill spree comedy of errors Middle Man. A darkly humorous dredge through despair and desperation, Crowley’s film emulates the dark comedy stylings that define greater desert noir the likes of No Country for Old Men with enough tics to call its own to warrant an existence. Parks and Recreation’s Jim O’Heir shines as a bumbling unfunny “comedian” with high aspirations and little talent and his dedicated deadpan gives Middle Man its power. All the viscera Clowery throws O’Heir’s way signals a dark transformation that results in a whopper of a final shot, even if all the detours along the way – much like the world’s biggest ball of yarn – aren’t always entirely worthwhile. (C+)

*Capsule reviews of 100 words from the Seattle International Film Festival.

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