“Girlfriend’s Day” is a quick, dark sketch of a comedy, sort of a Bob Oedenkirk special.
Made with a bunch of friends doing cameos (Derek Waters of “Drunk History,” Flo from those “Progressive” commercials, Toby Huss, Natasha Lyonne, Ed Begley Jr.), it captures the hard-drinking desperation of a greeting card writer, “a poet, if you’ve gotta label me,” suffering from writer’s block.
It’s a collection of deadpan one-liners and wry observations, semi-random scenes in bars, poetry slams and an office of fellow romance card-writing depressives.
“Ray here used to be the best, a real Shakespeare of romance cards.”
“Can I offer you a beer?”
“I’m uh, on medication. So…yeah.”
His wife left him, he lost his job and his former boss, months later, pitches him one last break. A “side project,” where the power word in every card is “Girlfriend.” Before Ray has given it a lot of thought, the governor announces “Girlfriend’s Day,” and it all becomes clear.
“Who can write the most romantic card in celebration of the new holiday?”
It’s all about saving the “failing greeting card industry.”
Here’s a chance to jump the gun, get ahead of the game. Will he blow it, lost in nightmarish visions of his ex-wife (June Diane Raphael) having sex with an owl (a children’s book author played by Andy Richter stole her away)? Or will Ray come through?
Former students (Rich Sommer of “Mad Men”) try to buck him up. Ex-colleagues, too.
A bar pickup (Amber Tamblyn) has the soul-dead Ray suspicious.
“How many cats do you have?”
Ray and Jill (Tamblyn) bond over the sad state of card-writing.
“You’ll get it back. You’ve got to have the feelings, first. Then you can write about them.” Ray pounds at the typewriter and pounds back the whisky. And then things turn REALLY dark — film noir dark. Stacy Keach as the heavy dark.
None of it quite builds up to a belly laugh, just the occasional half-grinned Oedenkirk smirk.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, alcohol abuse, sexual situations, locker room talk
Cast: Bob Oedenkirk, Amber Tamblyn, Natasha Lyonne, Stacy Keach
Credits:Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson , script by Eric Hoffman and Bob Oedenkirk. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:10