Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
As the 2009 Sundance Film Festival comes to a close, I was shocked to learn that Derrick Comedy’s Mystery Team has still not been bought by a big Hollywood distributor. This is shocking for a number of reasons, first of which is that Mystery Team is probably the most marketable unsold film in the entire festival. Some might argue that I Love You Philip Morris might take the top slot, but big actors like Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor might not be enough to sell a romantic comedy about two gay men to Middle America.
Mystery Team is a sketch comedy film which transcends the genre, features no huge stars (although, Aubrey Plaza is going to be HUGE), but has more laughs than 99% of Hollywood comedies, and a better concept to boot (you can read my full review here). At its worst, Mystery Team could easily be the next Super Troopers, and its very best, if marketed well, it has the potential to reach Napoleon Dynamite-like numbers. The best part, it already has a huge Internet fanbase built in. Out of all the Sundance coverage posted on /Film, our Mystery Team review garnered the most amount of traffic, by far. And I’ve heard the same from other movie website webmasters.
So it’s shocking to me that no distributor has picked this movie up. I mean, it couldn’t have cost a lot to make. It was shot on digital video with the RED camera, and the main cast decided to donate their entire salaries back into the production. The film doesn’t look low budget by any means. And the high concept comic storyline seems like an easy sell to a generation of college-age kids who grew up reading Encyclopedia Brown.
Even Sony Pictures Classics couldn’t fuck it up (oh wait, they would…). I know it’s become very cliche, but this is the perfect film for Fox Searchlight. They have perfected the sneak preview screening platform release that this film so desperately requires. So is anyone going to step up? This film plays fantastically on the big screen. I saw it at the premiere midnight screening at the Library and everyone was going nuts. It would be a shame to see a direct-to-dvd release.
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