Linoleum – movie review

The quirky dramedy Linoleum concerns a decent man of science who always wanted to be an astronaut.

That man is Cameron Edwin (Jim Gaffigan). He hosts a local, late-night children’s TV science show, called “Above & Beyond”. One day a very strange thing happens – a red sports car crashes right in front of him, having seemingly fallen from space. If that isn’t bizarre enough, a man named Kent Armstrong (also Jim Gaffigan) – who very much resembles Cameron – is inside.

For a couple of years, Cameron has been promised a better time slot for his program, but then he’s blindsided and sidelined. The program has been picked up by the network, with a different host –  namely his doppelgänger Armstrong – and if Cameron chooses to stay on, it will be as its creative consultant. All this happens as Cameron’s wife Erin (Rhea Seehorn) – who used to co-host “Above and Beyond” – is preparing to leave him. As yet though, they haven’t told their children – a headstrong daughter Nora (Katelyn Nacon) and a doting younger son. Nora takes a shine to a new kid at school, Marc (Gabriel Rush), who turns out to be Kent’s son.

And, most importantly, a satellite drops from the sky and into Cameron’s backyard, opening up a sea of possibilities.

There’s far more in Linoleum than at first meets the eye. It all comes together in the third act. The film is cleverly conceived and executed by writer-director Colin West. The script provides ample room for contemplation about the human condition. Although Cameron has received a measure of success, something has always held him back. The routine of it all appears to have gotten to Erin, while Nora is trying to find her place in the world. I was thoroughly engaged by the mysterious chain of events.

Jim Gaffigan is eminently watchable in his dual roles – at once personable and bombastic. Rhea Seehorn plays the tightly-strung Erin with conviction, while Katelyn Nacon’s Nora has personality to burn.

Linoleum is a small film, but big on creativity and charm.

Alex First

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