Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire
The Native American overtones of the unwieldy title have nothing to do with what goes on in Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire: What does go on is Party of Five-minus-three. Real-life cute brothers Steven and Derick Martini play movie-cute orphans Tony and Chris Remi, who share a house in Los Angeles and fumble their way with cute women. Tony (the easy going would-be actor) hits it off with a single mother (Christa Miller); Chris (the serious accountant) goes for an Italian animal wrangler (Rosemarie Addeo). Well, who wouldn’t?
Neophyte writer-director Kevin Jordan and the Martinis (who cowrote) are longtime friends, and this sunny ode to brotherhood, made on a tiny budget, goes a fair distance on good vibes. Step outside their own front door, though, and the boys are lost: In a secondary plot about an old movie-recording engineer (veteran character actor and jazz musician Bill Henderson) who regales Chris with stories of historic, all-black Hollywood studios, the most interesting man in town is sidelined as a colorful, wisdom-dispensing curio. B-