Brett Gelman has never been one to shy away from stranger material. In fact, he dives into it—most often with projects of his own creation, like Brett Gelman’s Dinner In America, but also playing odd-duck characters in series like Eagleheart or Another Period. He’s also shown range as more buttoned down and grounded people in things like Fleabag and Married. His new film, Lemon, looks to combine those two skill sets, taking a distinctly unusual character and plunking him down in the middle of real-world situations, and letting the awkwardness unfold.
Co-written by Gelman and director Janicza Bravo, the movie stars Gelman as Isaac Lachmann, a 40-year-old man with a stalled career, a girlfriend on her way out the door, and a difficult family. And it only seems to get worse from there—“he just watches as his life unravels,” is how the film’s press notes describe it. While that doesn’t exactly sound like a laugh riot, the trailer makes clear this is going to be cringe comedy in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm, with the stylistic and tonal angle of a Wes Anderson movie. Sure, there’s a lot of indie films that try to hit a similar sweet spot of humor of aesthetic idiosyncrasy, but we trust Gelman a lot more than we do most people. Plus, he’s brought in a host of excellent character actors to help out, including Michael Cera, who might deliver the line, “Hey, could you not do that?” better than it’s ever been done before. Lemon is coming to theaters, VOD, and Amazon Video on August 18.