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Meredith Hagner, Alex Karpovsky, Wyatt Russell

“FOLK HERO  & FUNNY GUY” My rating: C+

88 minutes | No MPAA rating

A moderately diverting buddy/road movie, “Folk Hero &  Funny Guy” isn’t incisive enough to capture our imaginations. But it isn’t awful, either.

Jeff Grace’s comedy stars Alex Karpovsky (a regular on HBO’s “Girls”) as Paul, a professional standup comic whose career has hit a creative wall.  Basically he’s been repeating his material for so long that he’s been bypassed by the modern era. (I mean, the guy still tries to get mileage out of a joke about e-vite invitations.)

Turns out Paul’s best friend from childhood, Jason (Wyatt Russell), is a nationally known folk rocker with a burgeoning career.  Jason suggests that Paul accompany him on his new solo tour as an opening act.

Paul needs the work and the exposure.  Jason wants to re-bond with his bud. What could go wrong?

Enter Bryn (Meredith Hagner), a guitar-strumming gal whom they encounter at an open-mic night.  Jason impulsively asks her to join the tour (after impulsively taking her to bed).

Except that schlubby Paul also has the hots for this newcomer, who seems to be doing a pretty good job of keeping both men at arm’s length.

And that, folks, is pretty much it.

You can say this for “Folk Hero & Funny Guy”…it feels right.  Paul’s comedy is sometimes wince-inducing, but it has enough sparks of wit to let us know he’s capable of more.

Russell and Hagner’s musical passages are, well, pretty freakin’ great.  In most movies like this the musical performances are never good enough to convince you that the  audience in the movie is genuinely  going nuts for the concert. Here you believe.

| Robert W. Butler

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