Ben Manalowitz (B.J.Novak) is a journalist, podcaster and writes for the New Yorker. He is at a
New York City rooftop party talking with his friend John (John Mayer) They are discussing life,
creativity, work, and the meaning of relationships. As they banter, the subject turns into a talk
about dating and how difficult it is to feel like they are missing out on the next person if they
decide on “the one”.The mutual agreement tells us that these two are not interested in
developing any depth with any person they date. While the buddies complain about a lack in the
dating scene, Ben gets a phone call informing him that Abeline (Lio Tipton) is dead.
The person on the line is Ty Shaw (Boyd Holbrook), Abilene’s brother. He seems to be under
the impression that Ben is Abilene’s boyfriend. Ty pretty much guilts him into getting on a flight
to a far corner of Texas for a funeral of a girl that he barely knows. Once he arrives in the great
state, Ben learns that Abilene’s brother’s intent is to find her killer and claim his vengeance. Ty
convinces Ben that Abilene’s vengeance is a premise worthy of a story on his podcast. So much
so, that he sells the idea to his podcast editor Eloise (Issa Rae). She approves of the story, sending
Ben the tools that he would need to begin his investigation.
Music was a big part of Abilene’s life, when she returned home, she had cut an EP at the studio.
Quentin Sellers (Ashton Kucher) is the owner of the Studio as well as the producer. He waxes
profundities as if he is the second coming and is so genial, giving philosophy and a copy of all
the recordings that Abi made.
One can equate this story to a self-discovery tale. As much as he learns about Abilene and her
family, he finds out how much he doesn’t know about himself. This is B.J, Novak’s first go as
Director of a feature film as well as the screenwriter. It is a clever movie that has humor and
heart with a cowboy neo-noir touch. I look forward to Novak’s next film. If you like indie films,
suspense, and dark humor, check it out.