Driverless Review by Jen Bush
Written and Directed by Charles Pelletier
Produced by Stephen Foster
Main Cast: Stephen Foster (3 different roles), Navnoor Kahlon, Will Roberts
With a shift in vehicles becoming more autonomous, Driverless is a contemporaneous comedy short about a car service company with no drivers. Miles, the callous C.E.O. of the Driverless corporation cleans house of 23 employees. The only employee left is a happy go lucky young man named Raj. Miles brings his nephew Glen on board who he hasn’t seen since 1980 at a family reunion. He gives Glen an impressive title with an unimpressive salary of minimum wage and throws him to the lions without some much as an employee handbook. Glen is a nerdy high-strung character with prior anger management issues who is understandably confused at what is expected of him. The film shows Glen trying to stay afloat in an impossible work situation with Raj trying to help while his uncle remains M.I.A. There are multiple hilarious subplots of passengers in the driverless cars and one irate customer waiting for her car to arrive.
Driverless is a comedy with a message. It drives home the point that some of corporate America is evil and most employees are underpaid and exploited. It’s also a spoof on customer service. The car’s engine was on fire and Raj asked for the 17 digit account number as customer service reps do. It is cleverly comedic from beginning to end. Just about every line and every scenario is hilarious. Pairing a Quaker who has a proselytizing agenda because he’s got a church quota to meet with an ignorant, obnoxious, despicable and misogynistic man in a ride share situation is comedy gold. Kudos to Stephen Foster for deftly playing both parts. Every character was a funny exaggeration of a stereotype like the heartless C.E.O completely out of touch with reality who brags that he makes 900% more money than his employees. Then there’s the foreigner whose grasp of the English language has him mistaking nepotism for necrophilia and the word peon for thinking that he was about to be urinated on. This all adds up to laughs.
Stephen Foster played both the lead and two supporting characters completely distinguishable from each other and utterly humorous. Humor is his superpower. Raj was the most likeable character in the whole film. Navnoor Kahlon’s keen comedic skill was having his character remaining idealistic in the absurdist of situations. The character of Miles gets a boo, hiss but the actor Will Roberts gets a bravo for his performance as the loathe worthy C.E.O. of the company.
Driverless is certainly road worthy with its ingenious writing, expert directing, skilled cinematography and accomplished acting. Here’s hoping the success of Driverless goes on for miles and miles and miles.