Omaha (The Movie)
1995, NR, 85 min. Directed by Dan Mirvish. Starring Hughston Walkinshaw, Jill Anderson, Frankier Bee, Christopher M. Dukes.
REVIEWED By Alison Macor, Fri., April 12, 1996
This is an expanded reprint of the Austin Chronicle review that ran in March 1995 when the film premiered in Austin at that year's SXSW Film Festival. ///// “Nebraska is a lot more than Aksarben spelled backwards,” intones its governor in one of the many guest spots in Dan Mirvish's first feature Omaha (the movie). Just exactly what the governor means is incidental, as is much of the wacky plot in which Simon (Walkinshaw), a young man intent on spiritual awakening, returns from Nepal to his family home in Omaha only to be jettisoned on an interstate chase because of some valuable holy rocks and some greedy Colombians named Jorge (Bee) and Gustavo (Dukes). His overzealous and oversexed co-pilot is high school friend Gina (Anderson), whose kickboxing skills are particularly helpful in detaining the Colombians as well as FBI agents and roving gangs of Iowa kickboxers. Walkinshaw's and Anderson's performances are inspired, as is the casting of various local celebrities, such as the motorcycle-riding mayor P.J. Morgan. Omaha (the movie) makes the most of quirky touches such as hand-held subtitle cards, aurally enhanced swish pans, and primitive, inserted sequences that edge the film that much closer to surreality. Coupled with Ben Zoma's theme song “Omaha,” these images provide a kind of arty music video as an added bonus at the end of the film. The soundtrack also features music by Nebraska bands such as 311 & the Millions and Outback. In Omaha (the movie), Mirvish has created a strange world of mistaken identities and television programs come-to-life. At times a bit too eccentric for its own good but possibly the only film ever to thank its viewers for staying through to the end of the credits, Omaha (the movie) offers an entertaining hour and a half of crazy antics, silly situations, and good clean Midwestern fun. I'm tempted to call it the low-budget companion piece to Fargo, but doing so would overlook the fact that Mirvish did the Midwest before the Coen Brothers even rode into town.