Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Love & Taxes: Grow-Up Man-Child
we’ve all worked hard and paid our taxes, because that is what it means to be
responsible. However, Josh Kornbluth expects a standing ovation when he finally
pays his taxes after seven years. Of course, he also expects sympathy when he
subsequently makes a hash of his finances through his own boneheadedness. He
will tell viewers exactly why in his hipster monologues that provide the
constant narration of brother Jacob Kornbluth’s Love & Taxes (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.
Kornbluth repeatedly tells us, he was a red diaper baby, so his Communist
parents were ideologically opposed to paying taxes. Okay, nice to know they
also supported the Moscow Show Trials, the Ukrainian famine, the invasions of
Hungary and Czechoslovakia and martial law in Poland. Shouldn’t they have
supported confiscatory taxation, since they did not believe in private capital?
Eventually, Kornbluth will reach that conclusion himself, but first he runs up
massive amounts of billable hours with his “holistic” tax attorney, Mo Glass
and sign over rights to his one-man show as security for his debt.
the timing is unfortunate for L&T.
Jonny Donahue is just infinitely more compelling bringing Duncan Macmillan’s
one-man-show Every Brilliant Thing to
life for HBO than Josh Kornbluth is as the meta version of his brother Jacob. Tellingly,
Donahue is able to hold our attention from the stage, in live performance, with
no taped vignettes to fall back on, whereas L&T
blends monologue and dramatized passages, sort of like a Seinfeld episode, but the mix is nearly
one for one. Yet, Brilliant Thing is
hands down more compelling.
anyone who works for a living will have trouble ginning up much sympathy for
Kornbluth. The political references are also over eight years out of date (Dick
Cheney hunting jokes? Seriously, that’s the best they can do? How embarrassing.)
Again, perhaps it is unfair to measure it
against EBT, but the stakes in L&T just seem low in comparison and
there is no denying all of Kornbluth’s troubles come from unforced errors.
Frankly, the only likable character Bob Shelby, Kornbluth’s former tax attorney
boss, Bob Shelby, played with restrained deadpan charm by David Keith (not the
one from An Officer and a Gentleman).
As a work of cinema, L&T mostly
just feels small and self-absorbed. Not recommended, Love & Taxes opens tomorrow (3/3) in New York, at the Landmark