Two incompetent detectives investigate a burglary at a young woman’s home. This is our review of the writer, director and actor David Esposito’s comedy Nada Clue.
The purpose of a comedy is to make you laugh and throughout David Esposito’s 8-minute short Nada Clue I laughed. I didn’t guffaw, I didn’t laugh loudly, I just consistently chuckled and for a short film that is great work. The movie is a spoof on the buddy cop genre and more deadpan daftness from Esposito whose previous work we have reviewed before.
Esposito is one of the more interesting figures making independent short films, particularly comedies, and he is always good fun to watch. He exercises a form of lingering comic absurdity that tests the boundaries of weirdness, while his deadpan delivery of comedic flights of fancy is extremely distinctive and more often than not very amusing. This is especially on show here in Nada Clue were, in all of his writing, directing and acting, he can draw out the gags beyond the usual punchlines, push them towards the limits of acceptability and then still manage to create a decent pay-off.
The plot is rather flimsy, two police detectives investigating a crime scene, but that is not the point, the setting is just a canvas on which Esposito and his cast can layer gags onto, which they do gamely. There are visual gags, spoken puns, moments of slapstick and scatological misunderstanding. As always, some of the gags work and some of them don’t but there are so many that the law of averages favours the laughs and in an 8-minute comedy that is the most impressive thing.
Esposito isn’t alone in his surreal and eccentric world view, he is ably helped by his cast members all of whom get their moments to shine.
Along with Esposito, the other stand-out performer is his partner Detective Joel Dean (played by Ryan Crepack) whose own deadpan delivery is right up there with the great Leslie Nielsen. Crepack’s secret is that he does almost nothing and certainly, nothing that he seems to think is funny. He is the wooden straight man, unaware of what is going on around him, lacking insight, grace, tact or intelligence. His character’s one redeeming feature is that Esposito’s Detective Nick Marino is even stupider than him.
Crepack’s performance is the centrepiece of the short and he provides the perfect characterisation for his meandering dialogue and pondering thoughts of dumbness. Listening to both of the partners during this film is a lot of fun; they have an easy, unforced chemistry that grows out of their laconic delivery and similarly stupid personalities.
Also worthy of mention is the third part of this comedy trio, the victim of the crime Veronica Hernandez (played by Jes Vasquez). Vasquez has a light comic touch and an extremely likeable personality that works as the perfect counter to the two grotesque policemen and the less subtle aspects of the script. The two newsreaders who appear sporadically throughout the short get their funny moments too.
In a comedy short like this, the technicalities are not the main aspect of the film but it would be remiss of me to neglect to mention them, so with that in mind the cinematography by Wesley Mellot is pretty straight forward as there are only a couple of settings, a car, a door, a kitchen and a bedroom. We are given mainly mid-shots and tight two-shots using a lot of natural light. This just tends to keep two actors and some of the backgrounds on screen at the same time, while the music despite, being quite bouncy, is cleverly noir inspired.
Overall Nada Clue is goofy, silly and a whole lot of fun. If you enjoy the work of Taika Waititi then you will definitely enjoy Nada Clue.