Rated NR

A wonderful comic cast joins with first-time director Jonathan Parker to create a lunk-headed alternate reality for this adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic novella and high-school staple Bartleby the Scrivener. This film’s mundane, modern business world, in which Bartleby is a clerk in a public records office, is as almost surreal—not to mention as nerve-racking and hilarious—as the industrial and sexual wasteland of David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Among the delightfully odd ensemble are Joe Piscopo, Glenne Hedley, Maury Chaykin and Seymour Cassell. Wired and truly weird, Crispin Glover portrays the intense title character, but the movie is more about the reaction he elicits from his ultra-nerd boss. David Paymer’s character (identified only as The Boss) narrates the 82-minute film, expertly depicting his increasing exasperation at Bartleby’s insistence that he "prefers not" to do anything. Absolutely beguiling.

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