Too Much Sleep: David Maquiling’s Feature Directorial Debut

A low-key, offbeat comedy, Too Much Sleep, David Maquiling’s feature directorial debut, concerns the comic mis(adventures) of a passive security guard living in a dormant American suburb, who’s forced to take action and control of his life under the most bizarre circumstances.

Though sporadically charming and nicely played by Marc Palmieri, narrative is so slight that it would have worked much better as a short. In its current form, pic doesn’t have enough to offer to paying patrons, but it should travel the regional festival road.

Set in an unnamed ‘burb, story revolves around Jack Crawford (Palmieri), a handsome young man who, domineered by his mom, spends most of his time alone in his room. As a security guard for a big company, Jack works mostly night shift, sleeping during the day. One day, riding on a bus, he becomes transfixed by a beautiful woman, Kate (Nicol Zanzarella), who actually responds to his look. Nonetheless, shortly after she gets off the bus, Jack realizes that his handgun, which was wrapped in a brown paper bag, is gone.

Did he lose the gun or did Kate steal it? That’s the thematic thread–and basically one-idea–around which the narrative is built. Structured as a road comedy with occasionally dark overtones, Jack’s search for his gun propels him deeper and deeper into the strange and absurd underworld of a supposedly quiet small town. Maquiling, who also wrote the yarn, obviously draws on a whole tradition of movies, from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet to Stacy Cochran’s My New Gun, exploring the rich, bizarrely perverse world lurking beneath seemingly quiet and ordinary lives.

Among the more interesting and funny interactions are those with a character nicknamed “Uncle” Eddie (Pasquale Gaeta), a man who owns a deli and talks non-stop and pretends to be an expert of every issue that comes up.

The interaction between this unlikely couple recalls the one between Seymour Cassell and Steve Buscemi in In the Soup, and Jason Priestley and Peter Riegert in Coldblooded, two movies that also suffered from forced humor and overextended running time.

The point of Too Much Sleep is, of course, to delay resolution to the missing gun, and for a short while the movie sustains interest. But the material is slender and the characters along the road are not sufficiently engaging or eccentric for a feature-length movie.

Production values are above average, particularly Robert Mowen’s clean, uncluttered lensing and efficient editing by Jim Villone, who previously assisted the excellent editing job on Heavy.