With pressure mounting because of the rescinding of government funding, two superheroes find themselves dealing with emotional crises while on a secret mission.
Fridge (Kris Lemche, Joan of Arcadia’s Cute Boy God) and C-Thru (Joey Kern, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard) are on a secret mission in the Hamptons – to transport supervillain Shrink (John Ventimiglia,The Sopranos) to a more secure prison. The problem is that Fridge (short for Refrigerator, he has ice powers) is having an emotional crisis because his girlfriend is cheating on him, in his secret identity, with himself – as Fridge. C-Thru (x-ray vision) is also having a bit of a crisis since he has a hidden agenda that is, to say the least, troubling.
Then there’s the unexpected connection between Shrink (mind control ability) and Fridge’s superhero dad – who murdered his wife and committed suicide! And what about the lovely Claudel (Brooke Nevin, Royal Pains), who seems to like Fridge – or at least his alter ego – for who he is?
In much the same way that The Specials dealt with the behind the scenes turmoil of a group of superheroes, Alter Egos deals with a brief period of time in which Fridge and C-Thru face turmoil out of the limelight – and only part of the problem stems from the cessation of government funding to superheroes.
Written and directed by Jordan Galland (the clever Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead) takes his time setting up the situation, relying on character development to create tension and the isolated setting to enhance it. The result is a superhero movie that is about people, and real emotion – though there is a bit of action and one or two clever bits centered on superpowers (a TV interview with Sunburn, for example, is both drily witty and slapstick funny).
Lemche, Kern and Nevin work well together, and Ventimiglia gives a nicely understated turn as Shrink. Danny Masterson (Men at Work) is terrific as an overwrought superhero-wannabe cop named Jimmy who has a serious (and unhealthy) thing for Claudel.
Galland, however, is no James Gunn and Alter Egos does drag in spots. Overall, though, it is beautifully shot – utilising its few sets and locations to full advantage – and emotionally engaging. Though press materials describe it as a superhero comedy, it’s really more of a dramedy with a lot of shadings from comedy to drama.
Final Grade: B
Alter Egos is now available On Demand and on Apple iTunes.
Photos courtesy Phase 4 Films.