FISHBOWL CALIFORNIA (2018)

A Review by Robert Long II ©2018

Starring Steve Olson, Katherin Cortez, Katrina Bowden, Kate Flannery, Jenna Willis

Directed by Michael A. MacRae

Genre: Dramedy


IMDb Synopsis
Jobless and hopeless, Rodney (Steve Olson) hits rock bottom when he finds out his girlfriend Tess (Katrina Bowden) is cheating him. With nowhere to turn, Rodney drives aimlessly until his car quits on him, leaving him stranded in front of a stranger’s house. The next morning he’s awoken by June (Katherin Cortez), an ailing drunk widow who busts him for stealing her electricity. Instead of having Rodney arrested, June puts him to work around the house. June’s increasing pity for Rodney eventually earns him a temporary spot in her home, which lasts longer than they both anticipated.

Okay, time to take my horror/sci fi cap off as I review a new independent dramedy, “Fishbowl California.” Is it worth checking out? Let’s find out.

The character of Rodney is a piece of work. He can’t hold down a job, his girlfriend is cheating on him and he hasn’t even named his goldfish. June is a bit of a bitter drunk with some health issues. These two are going to start off like oil and water, aren’t they. We’ll see if th

The story isn ‘t anything too terribly original. It’s all scenerios we’ve seen in one form or another before. However, it is written and structured well, and has heart behind it. It is a clever blend of humorous moments, serious confrontations, and tender pulling-at-the-heartstrings. For a movie such as this, what else is there to ask for?

It is very much an odd couple plot – with one person being down on their luck and the other being ill and cantankerous. This allows for both funny moments as well as more quiet, serious moments. The actors gel well together and have good chemistry. If I found anything at fault is that I wish there was a little bit more of the warm fuzzies by the end. There is still a rather thick layer of cynicalness floating around by the end credits.

The direction is solid as the director is able to pull strong performances from the actors. That is the thing that can make or break a dramedy, and luckily Fishbowl California passes this acid test in flying colors.

The music soundtrack is well picked and scored and fits the scenes like a glove. The cinematography is sharp with a warm color palette, and the acting is solid.

As an independent film, this appears to have been filmed on actual locations rather than sets or backlots. Neighborhoods, the liquor store, June’s house – it gives a feeling of authenticity to the scenes. This had to have been a challenge as there are no “wild walls” to take away and shoot through as there are on movie sound stages. The fact that it is pulled off so well in this production is another feather in its cap.

The third act throws a curve ball of a surprise in the works, before assembling into a more traditional happy ending. I give it HUGE kudos for the curveball. Otherwise, most of the dramedy cliches are there. When you get right down to it though, it’s the performances that the audience will take away from this. For that fact alone they viewing audience gets plenty of bang for their buck.

So by all means, if you are in the mood for strong performances in an intimate little story, I would highly recommend Fishbowl California. It’s great to see that it is available through Amazon via streaming, DVD and bluray. You can find it HERE.

3.5 out of 5 stars