Phoenix Film Festival Review: Clark Gregg's Trust Me

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Trust Me (via Facebook)
Trust Me is an indie dark comedy written and directed by Clark Gregg that tells the tale of a Los Angeles underdog and features such well-known actors as Amanda Peet, Sam Rockwell, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, Molly Shannon, and even a brief appearance by William H. Macy. Unfortunately for us, the movie screened just once during the Phoenix Film Festival.

See also: 10 Must-See Movies at the Phoenix Film Festival 2014

It's a shame, really, because the film offers a well-balanced delivery of wit and meaning in its portrayal of a down-on-his-luck talent agent for child actors named Howard, who's played by Gregg.

Howard is stuck and struggling. The former child actor had his career cut short and now finds himself as a middle-aged Hollywood agent who can't catch a break, not from his snot-nosed, prepubescent clients, their parents, nor his ostentatious archenemy, Aldo, played by Rockwell.

But things seem to be turning around for Howard when he meets a promising backwoods child actress named Lydia (Saxon Sharbino). Despite his lackluster resume and the protests of her alcoholic father (Paul Sparks), Lydia is drawn to Howard's strong moral compass, which, in retrospect, is both a blessing and a curse in a city like Los Angeles.

In addition to nabbing Hollywood's next young starlet, Howard has also managed to nab the attention of Marcy, a single working mother living in his apartment complex, played by Peet. His awkward banter and her dry sense of humor make for a romantic dynamic so endearing, you almost wish you could just stop the movie right there.

But in a city like Los Angeles and an industry like Hollywood, the changes just keep on coming -- and, sadly, not in the way you would hope for poor old Howard. Backstabbing, false accusations, and missed opportunities are just some of the surprises thrown his way. Though we can't say we weren't warned. Transformation is a strong motif throughout the film, signified by wings and butterflies, which appear as precursors to pivotal moments.

Not only does Trust Me simultaneously illustrate the cold-hearted nature of Hollywood while giving us hope that a few good guys remain, it also poetically conveys that change can happen anywhere, anytime, at any age.

Trust Me is set for release on VOD May 6, 2014 and in select theaters June 6. For a look at films screening through Thursday, April 10, at the Phoenix Film Festival, visit www.phoenixfilmfestival.com.

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