The Clapper Review

The Clapper is a 2018 comedy about how 15 minutes of fame destroys the life of a man who works as a clapper in television.

Can’t fault the producers of Dito Montiel‘s latest oddity The Clapper for not being unique. A love story circling a story about infomercials is not something you see every day. However, the director has made himself a reputation of sorts for offering such things, his films mostly all quirky and unfortunately, underwhelming forgettables. The Clapper is no different. It’s an aimless film with a genuinely funny premise that just can’t sustain itself, struggling to stretch to its 90 minutes.

Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) is scraping together a meager living in La La Land, working mostly as an audience member for cheesy infomercials, occasionally getting a line or two. It’s a little extra pay, and he sure needs it. He’s loopy for a pretty cash station attendant named Judy (Amanda Seyfried), a wallflower with whom he simply can’t seem to get footing with. Meanwhile, one night on the The Jayme Stillman Show, a quasi-Tonight Show clone, the host does a bit that reveals Eddie to be a regular on these late night commercials, and amused by it all, labels him ‘The Clapper’, putting out a ‘manhunt’ to learn his identity (something you’d think in this day in age would last about 37 seconds). This all puts his work in jeopardy and his attempts at romance in the spotlight.

It’s a little hard to put into words just how off track The Clapper is, a film that takes a mostly likeable character and plops him into a freakishly unrealized universe that derails the momentum almost at every turn. Honestly, when this started, I was actually reminded of Will Ferrell‘s terrific and underseen comedy/drama Stranger Than Fiction, a movie that allows Ferrell to really explore something beyond his usual hyperbolic comedies. Helms has all the makings to do the same, creating a nebbish sort of man who only wants to get by, find love, and earn a decent living.

However, Helms isn’t really given the opportunity to run with this, instead left to be a superficial awkward guy who gets to do just the sort of shut in, painfully shy bits you’d expect. While Montiel gives us a rare glimpse into the background of these seedy infomercials and the actors who struggle to get work (and respect) in a business that churns them out like meat from grinder, the movie puts most of its energies into the relationship between Eddie and Judy, throwing in the mix a slew of sentimental and emotionally manipulative bends in the story that underplay the premise.

The Clapper is a movie you want to like, it trying hard in many ways to be a few too many things. The cast is certainly game, with all of them putting in the effort, but it all lands flat and feels much too manufactured, from Eddie’s painfully obvious last name to extended bits that wear out their potential. Where most of us would jump at the chance for fame the movie presents Eddie, he treats it like a curse and while there’s hints of satire, it mostly avoids any chance to give it a proper skewer. There’s some good moments here and there, and a movie about Eddie and Judy might have worked better, however, The Clapper isn’t it.

The Clapper Review


Director(s): 15 minutes of fame destroys the life of a man who works as a clapper in television.

Actor(s): Amanda Seyfried, Leah Remini, Ed Helms

Genre: Comedy

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