David Sedaris fans have waited a long time for this moment. Finally, one of his essays has been turned into a feature film. The chosen piece was taken from Sedaris’ 1997 collection of essays, Naked, and was the inspiration for the screenplay (adapted by Kyle Patrick Alvarez). C.O.G. follows Samuel (Jonathan Groff, Glee, Boss), an Ivy league student who’s having an identity crisis, as he leaves his life behind to work on an apple picking farm.
As the story unfolds, Samuel abandons apple picking and moves from one unusual opportunity to the next, immersing himself with salt-of-the-earth folks. In the background, he tries to reconnect with his mom; it becomes clear that he recently came out to her and was met with a cold response. At one point, he tries working in an apple processing plant where he meets Curly (Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris, House of Cards), an ambiguously gay factory worker, who seems equal parts friendly and creepy.
Later on, Samuel tries to bond with an Evangelical missionary named Jon (Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story, True Blood, The Good Wife) and eventually questions his own self-centered ways. Samuel may have some arrogance in him, but he’s also an empathetic and sympathetic character. Jonathan Groff does an exemplary job playing Samuel. His controlled, yet expressive, acting fits the roll perfectly.
Samuel’s willingness to try new modes of life, expand his horizons, and truly give people a chance makes his story all the more heartbreaking, as he is not always met with equal kindness. C.O.G. is not a typical comedy. It is more subtle in its humor and walks a fine line between comedy and drama. It’s witty, brutally honest, and surprisingly poignant. The snappy music dies down after the first act (thank goodness), and this quirky film ends up feeling quite refreshing and modern.
If you’re looking for a comedy you can sink your teeth into, C.O.G. is for you! The film has a scheduled release date of September 20th.
Four Red Delicious Apples out of Five