Review of "7 Chinese Brothers"

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The magnificent seven it isn’t. Instead “7 Chinese Brothers” is a very quirky, slightly off center film about a sad sack nearing middle age that has its redeeming moments. It is more dry wit than laugh out loud humor, and nobody plays a misguided soul better than Jason Schwartzman. The film, which was shot on location in Austin, fittingly debuted at the city’s famous South by Southwest film festival. Fans of director Bob Byington’s other work — notably “Somebody Up There Likes Me” — can easily relate to his unique blend of all too real characters trying to find their way in life.

 This one tells the story of slacker Larry (Schwartzman), who goes from job to job only to find redemption at a quick lube shop. He isn’t so much a loser as someone who never knew he could be a winner. While he can’t keep his life together, he manages to find time for his elderly grandmother, played by the always-wonderful Olympia Dukakis.

 Quick lube operators may take interest, as this film was shot at a working Kwik Kar in Texas, and despite scenes that depict employees vacuuming up as much change as they can score, the film generally presents the industry in a good light — and it is the job at the shop that allows Larry to go from man child to actual adult.

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