Nick (Karpovsky) and Daryl (Tarik Lowe) are best friends and film editors hired to try and save a patchy rom-com from the clutches of its manic, absentee director (Kevin Corrigan). But the seemingly simple job puts a strain on their professional and personal relationship, as well as jeopardising the love lives of both men (with a little help from the beautiful lead actress of the film they’re editing).
Though it has a freewheeling, unfocused feel, there’s a lot to enjoy about Supporting Characters, with a good laugh count, cine-literacy and some lovely little portraits of the domestic life of young couples. Childish Gambino gives the soundtrack some verve and there’s a great belly laugh to be had after a reference to the maudlin Will Smith vehicle Seven Pounds.
Karpovsky, always a joy as Girls’ droll Ray, is excellent as Nick, dotting his performance with asides and murmurs that betray the character’s internal unhappiness. Lowe, who co-wrote the film, also impresses with charm and presence as the sunnier, simpler Daryl – or as Nick always introduces him, in one of the film’s best running gags, ‘D-Money’.
The pair have great fraternal chemistry and the film’s at its strongest when it’s just a two-hander. Though film editor’s not a job many audience members would have ever given a thought to, we’re certainly invested in Nick and Daryl’s friendship, even if some of their obstacles are self-made.
It can also be a gruelling watch, with self-destructive behaviour from both Nick and Daryl and such a naturalism to the script that arguments between the men and the girlfriends feel so realistic that it’s like being trapped in a room with your own friends fighting. There’s not a great deal of incident either, with the narrative giving you a passing wave, rather than taking you firmly by the hand.
Still, with a low budget and enjoyable performances, Supporting Characters is a smart and diverting indie comedy with neat things to say about finding your feet in your 20s.