C.O.G. Screen 6 articles

C.O.G.

2013

C.O.G. Poster
  • An adaptation of a short story from David Sedaris’s best-selling Naked collection, C.O.G. (short for “Child of God”) struggles from the outset to retain the snap of the NPR favorite’s hyperbolic humor while also grounding it in authenticity—a tonal disconnect that nonetheless serves to destabilize a potentially predictable coming-of-age tale.

  • While there may be humorous lines sprinkled throughout its running time, the film, from a combination of Kyle Patrick Alvarez's flat scene construction and Oregon's somber climate, feels heavy with an inconsolable air. In particular, its second half, with considerably less jokes and the tone shifting toward melancholic rumination, is somewhat of a slog...

  • The script (by the director, Kyle Patrick Alvarez) leaves his motivations and personal history undivulged, and the normally appealing Mr. Groff with little to play but faintly superior befuddlement. The result is a character as distant from the audience as he is from everyone else in the movie.

  • Scored to clapping sounds that accentuate David’s anxious condition, and bolstered by beautiful cinematographic framing that expresses his alienation, the film strikes a fine balance between hilarity and heartbreak. If the intolerance of the devout is a final target of C.O.G., its censure is complicated by portraits of individuals as inherently fallible and flawed, and driven to extreme measures by understandable, if nonetheless screwed-up, need.

  • There is a perilous difference between imagining people talking and interacting on the pages of a Sedaris story and actually seeing them do so without his masterful control of his effects. Alvarez solves that problem by taking the material and making it his own, making it more conflicted and making it much more serious... People who approach it as a film in its own right, with its own rhythms and goals and pleasures, will be amply rewarded.

  • Writer-director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Easier With Practice) blends pointed satire with gallows humor, much like Sedaris himself.