Review: Griff the Invisible

Griff the Invisible (2010, directed by Leon Ford)

A little Aussie trifle starring True Blood's Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), Griff the Invisible is about a timid oddball who deals with the misery of his lonely life by dressing up as a superhero and patrolling the streets. This is no Down Under Kickass riff though. While Griff does seem to occasionally scare off a mugger, for the most part he is completely wrapped up in his fantasy world, monitoring the city via satellite and computer network, getting calls from the commissioner on his red Batpho... err, Griffphone and battling shadowy figures dressed in Victorian finery.

His secret identity is threatened by outside forces though. Tony the office bully at work won't leave him alone, forcing him to use his homemade invisibility suit (a white painter's suit soaked in invisible ink, i.e. lemon juice) to sneak into the office at night to play practical jokes on Tony. More dangerous though, his straight-laced brother's new girlfriend Melody is a misfit like him, and seems far more interested in being part of his life than in his brother's. What's a delusional, socially maladjusted freak to do?

While Griff the Invisible ties hard to be Benny and Joon, only with Charlie Chaplin replaced by Bruce Wayne, it fails on a couple of fronts. While the film is admittedly low budget no effort is made at all to distinguish Griff's fantasy missions from reality, which makes it tough to tell exactly how out of touch Griff is. Worse, the conflicts keeping the couple apart are more on the level of Three's Company-esque misunderstandings than real issues to be resolved, sapping the story of any real urgency.

It's a cute idea for a movie, and everyone involved is game enough, but it just doesn't do anything to distinguish itself. Especially in a festival already containing James Gunn's Super, this one's as invisible as its title character wishes he could be.

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