Sundance Film Festival: David Cross delivers a flurry of “Hits” to fame-obsessed culture

The Frozen

“Hits,” “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross’ first film as a writer-director, plays like a feature-length episode of “Mr. Show.” And that’s a good thing. “Mr. Show” mixed inspired silliness and vicious satire in equal measure, and “Hits” sustains that formula for 90 gloriously nasty minutes.

Cross’ main target is how everyone is obsessed with being famous, with being seen somehow by the larger world. Katelyn (Meredith Hagner) dreams of getting on “The Voice,” undeterred by the fact that she lives in a small upstate New York town, she has no connections, and, well, she can’t sing. Nevertheless, she’s so convinced she’s going to get on the show that she drives around town practicing her future appearances on “Ellen.”

Her father Dave (Matt Walsh of “Veep”) seems at first more level-headed, but he’s really looking for a different kind of notoriety. Every Tuesday, he shows up at the city council meeting for “public comment” and delivers three minutes of high-minded vitriol at the city over an unfixed pothole on his street. One night, Dave goes too far and is arrested, and the video of his takedown goes viral on the Internet, where a trio of Brooklyn hipsters (James Adomian, Wyatt Cenac and Derek Waters) decide to take up his cause.

The satiric takedowns of fame-obsessed teens and Tea Party types seems like familiar turf to Cross, but he seems to take even more delight in skewering the Brooklyn hipsters that would seem to be the heart of “Mr. Show’s” fan base. The film is packed with funny people, including Amy Sedaris, Michael Cera and David Koechner (Cross stayed behind the camera). But the real breakout may be comedian James Adomian, who takes the waxed-mustache, faux-sincere arrogance of the liberal hipster and just runs with it.

Cross said in the post-show Q&A following the film’s world premiere Tuesday night that he didn’t have any qualms whatsoever about skewering everyone in the film.

“The only thing I wouldn’t want to do is hurt somebody’s feelings who didn’t deserve it, a real person,” Cross said. “Outside of that, any topic is open for discussion or satire. I hungrily eat that stuff.”

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