It can be tough to review a film with detail and flourish and not reveal the surprises that make it entertaining. Linoleum, a film from director Colin West, starring Jim Gaffigan, had its Indy film premiere at SXSW digitally and in-person and provided a delightful and subtly cool diversion. This is the writer/director West’s second film, and he demonstrates a conviction and storytelling expertise that inspires.

The subdued funnyman, Gaffigan plays Cameron Edwin, a children’s science television show host whose world is upended first when a satellite crashes in the backyard of his suburban home and then when his beloved science show is given to another man. His home is deemed uninhabitable by the government, but he and his wife Erin (Rhea Seehorn), who used to host the show with him, decide to reconstruct the fallen satellite into their own rocket in an attempt to fulfill their dreams of traveling to space.

Gaffigan is wonderful, pretty much playing himself, but with an even more melancholy edge. However, it is West who surprises and entertains with amusing dialogue, quirky twists, and a witty storyline. He’s developed clever and engaging characters and makes the best of his cast. Droll and droopy-dogesque, Gaffigan, falls right into the role of a man on the cusp of a monumental life change and a shiny albeit weird beginning. Here is where it would be easy to reveal too much, so I pause in this area of my praise. I will say that West packs a great many themes into his short hour and forty-one-minute film.

Linoleum pulls at the heart and even though some moments are far too slow, the finale a bit long in coming, the end result is wholly satisfying and surprising. Yes, not all of it adds up but overall, the journey is worth a look. West creates a pleasantly oddball story about coming to terms with love, regret, trauma, and failure. Much of the joy is derived from unexpected plot twists. I am not sure if this SXSW 2022 sleeper will stream or hit theatres or both, but Indy film lovers should take a look. I am placing 4 stars up for Linoleum.

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