Review: ‘Lousy Carter’

David Krumholtz Breathes Life Into Dry Comedy About An Aggravating Man With A Terminal Illness.

David Krumholtz is known for his past career. 10 Things I Hate About You, Numb3rs, The Santa Clause, chances are the thing you remember him from was made at least ten years ago. And while that’s okay, Krumholtz has taken a bunch of supporting and guest-starring roles over the years to keep sharp. That hustle proved beneficial when the 45-year-old popped up in last year’s Oppenheimer, playing the titular character’s best friend and colleague. Many viewers were reminded of the actor’s talents and his ability to add heart and humor to every scene he’s in. 

After a hiatus from leading man status, he’s jumping back in with Bob Byington’s lo-fi dark comedy Lousy Carter. Krumholtz plays the titular shlub, a college professor who begins to reevaluate his morally questionable life decisions when given a terminal diagnosis. He backs out of trying to sleep with a female graduate student, feels guilt over sleeping with his best friend’s wife, and starts to contemplate his lack of direction and love of complacency with his therapist played by the great Stephen Root. 

Olivia Thirlby (also in Oppenheimer) shows up as Carter’s ex-partner, who he is not over despite her complete lack of care for him. Martin Starr plays his best friend and colleague in a role that is a subdued version of Gilfoyle, whom he played in Silicon Valley. Byington’s script is full of very dry and unlikable characters who speak their minds with little regard for the outcome. It creates the perfect environment for a fascinating character study. 

Each character holds a special disdain and contempt for their friend, but Krumholtz plays off of it with dry humor and intended self-importance. He can twist a character no one likes into someone the audience can at least enjoy watching. As Carter starts to relax into his fate, Krumholtz does as well, clearly having a good time playing the leading man.  

I’ve never watched an asshole of a character and been delighted like this. If Oppenheimer brought Krumholtz back into the public consciousness, Lousy Carter shows his nuanced brilliance as an actor. He’s always been one of those underrated players who consistently delivers a solid and intriguing performance. He’s the most compelling part of this low-budget indie that is sometimes a bit one-note. Lousy Carter revitalizes his comic chops that we saw in the aforementioned 10 Things I Hate About You and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and proves Krumholtz has more in him than playing a secondary character.

Lousy Carter is open in theaters and VOD now.

Lousy Carter
A D.C area native, Cortland has been interested in media since birth. Taking film classes in high school and watching the classics with family instilled a love of film in Cortland’s formative years. Before graduating with a degree in English and minoring in Film Study from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Cortland ran the college’s radio station, where she frequently reviewed films on air. She then wrote for another D.C area publication before landing at Punch Drunk Critics. Aside from writing and interviewing, she enjoys podcasts, knitting, and talking about representation in media.
review-lousy-carterDavid Krumholtz proves he is still leading man material in Bob Byington's stripped down cry comedy.