(Photo via SXSW)
Infinity Baby is probably one of the strangest and most surreal films I’ve seen this year at SXSW. Bob Byington‘s latest feature is a look into a dystopian America where babies never age thanks to the fictional company Infinity Baby. The film was featured as a buzz screening during SXSW when I saw the film, and features an impressive cast consisting of Kieran Culkin, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Noël Wells, Martin Starr, and more. This film is not for everybody, but I was okay with that. It was different and weird enough for me that I ended up really enjoying Infinity Baby.
It’s the not-so-distant future where abortion has been made illegal but stem cell research was made legal by the U.S. Government. Because of this, companies like Infinity Baby have popped up, which create babies that never age. Culkin works for the company that his uncle (Nick Offerman) runs, while Culkin’s buddies (Martin Starr and Kevin Corrigan) hatch up a scheme to keep one of the babies to keep the money they would make selling it to themselves. Culkin also struggles to grow up, as he goes through girlfriend after girlfriend because of his inability to commit.
Byington shot this film here in Austin like his past features. The film, shot entirely in black and white by Matthias Grunsky, has the feeling of a believable society in which this scenario could happen (especially if the GOP continues to get their way). The black and white look of the film helps give off this bleak dystopian feel, especially when everyone in the film has become desensitized to this idea and doesn’t really think twice about their work. It’s kind of brilliant in that case, and I admire Byington for how he directed this piece.
The performances in the film are really exceptional/hilarious. Nick Offerman is at his best as the deadpan head of Infinity Baby, while his wife Megan Mullally (not his wife in the movie) is great as a confidant to Culkin’s character. Starr and Corrigan are great as the buddies/couple that attempt to raise one of the Infinity Babies on their own. Noël Wells is in the film briefly at the very beginning, but she’s a delight to watch on-screen, and it’s great to see her in two great movies shot here in Austin for this year’s SXSW. Speaking of Austin, one of the cities/countries funniest comics Martha Kelly (you might know her from Baskets) makes a brief appearance as a blind date to Culkin’s character. There’s unfortunately not a whole lot for her to do in the film, it was nice to see Kelly in her first feature film. She’s a brilliant comic, and I’m happy that she’s starting to get bigger projects as her career takes off (she’s set to have a role in the upcoming Spider-Man film).
Infinity Baby was pretty bizarre and I really enjoyed it for that reason. I enjoy comedies that are a little out there and make folks a little uncomfortable watching them, so this was kind of right up my alley. Some of the jokes don’t really land, and the movie just kind of ends without ever having a proper send-off of some of these characters, it’s still a weird and fun little 80 minute trip that makes it all worth it. If you’re a fan of Byington or any of these people in the film, I think you’ll get a kick out of this one (whenever it gets released).