Plot: Les (Steve Buscemi) is waiting in the street with a pack of his fellow paparazzi, hoping to snap the perfect photo of pop star K’Harma Leads (Alison Lohman), when a scuffle breaks out with one of his rivals. An argument over who should stand in a certain spot leads to confrontation, but Les is backed up by a strange homeless man. He is Toby (Michael Pitt), a dim, but upbeat young man who volunteers to help Les, who resists, but appreciates the attention and admiration. Les opens his world to Toby, who in turn helps him improve his tactics and social life, as the two strike up a genuine friendship. When Toby has a chance encounter with K’Harma, the two forge a fast bond, but it leads to a distance of sorts between Toby and Les. As Toby is taken inside K’Harma’s world, Les feels rejected and his desperation escalates.
Entertainment Value: This one has an interesting premise, but veers off course to focus on the familiar, instead of staying on the dark, dysfunctional dynamic between Les and Toby, as seen through a fame crazed lens. That dynamic has a lot of potential and the movie works well when that it is the focus, but a lame romance and rehashed looks at celebrity culture serve as an albatross around Delirious’ neck. Those scenes aren’t bad by any means, but don’t have much to offer aside from solid performances, since we’ve seen them done time and time again. But the strange bond between Les and Toby is fun to watch in action, as they’re such odd characters and together, have an even more unusual dynamic. Les is so dysfunctional that Toby sometimes even seems normal, despite his awkwardness and mental issues. In the scenes devoted to this twisted bond, the movie is fun and shows some real promise, only to undermined in favor of a lame romance thread or social soapbox moments. Even so, the movie has enough solid content to make it worth a look for fans of dark comedies.
As the narrative chases the weaker aspects of the material, I think the main draw of Delirious has to be the performances, with Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt as the standouts. Which is good, given that they’re the leads and all, right? The two are handed some offbeat characters and Pitt especially, as he has to convey this naive persona that seems a little slow as well. When contrasted with Buscemi’s social awkwardness and passive aggressive antics, Pitt’s Toby seems more normal, but the oddness shines through just enough. I think the chemistry is great between the two and the arguments are a great time, even if they’re rather one sided with Buscemi ranting and raving like a total lunatic. I just the movie stayed centered on the leads, as it would have been a more interesting experience. The cast also includes Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon, Melissa Rauch, David Wain, and Callie Thorne.