Bad, Bad Men
, an independent comedy made by Memphians Allen Gardner and Brad Ellis, is now available on Amazon streaming video.
Drew Smith, Allan Gardner, and Matt Mercer in Bad, Bad Men.
Gardner, who wrote and co-directed the film, stars as Josh, a schlubby, down on his luck real estate agent. After Josh is humiliated in a coffee shop by a rude stockbroker named Jerry (Adam Burns), he is persuaded by his co-workers Royce (Drew Smith) and Steven (Matt Mercer) to find the offending jerk and give him a piece of his mind. They enlist Rex (Gabe Arradondo), a comically shady ex cop, to track Jerry to his office, where they confront him and his cronies, beer reps Clive (Matthew Gilliam) and Owen (Nathan Ross Murphy). From there, things spin wildly out of control, with a Cohen Brothers-esque kidnapping of Josh’s would-be girlfriend Natalie (Maria Waslenko) and a confrontation with an omnipotent bookie (Richard Speight Jr.).
Gardner and Ellis expertly skewer the fragile male ego and the layered absurdities of their suburban Memphis setting. Gardner gives a nuanced comic performance as the terminally insecure office drone who still lives with his mom, played by his actual mother, Mae Jean Gardner. Smith has a field day as the perpetually aggrieved Royce, who is working out his own ex-wife issues as he plots petty suburban revenge. On the other hand, Mercer’s Steve is a stable family man who gets drawn into the hi jinx for a little adventure but ends up with more on the line than anyone. Memphis comedy legend Dennis Phillippi provides an indelible cameo as the unluckiest man in the bowling alley.
Bad, Bad Men
is a briskly paced, often hilarious comedy, expertly executed by Ellis and Gardner, veteran Memphis independent filmmakers with multiple Indie Memphis trophies on their shelves. The release on Amazon, available free to all Prime members
, gives the film exposure to an enormous national audience. You can read an interview with the duo as part of the Flyer
's Indie Memphis 2016 cover story.