Review

Josh and Jacob Kornbluth prove 'Love & Taxes' are preferable to death and taxes

“Love & Taxes” is an amusing, endearing trifle based on a monologue by writer-star Josh Kornbluth. Directed by Josh’s brother, Jacob, the film gently engages as it swings between bits from Josh’s autobiographical stage show about his life-changing struggle with the Internal Revenue Service and sketch-like reenactments of his twisty underdog tale.

The story flashes back on how schlubby man-child Josh, while working as a legal secretary to a gung-ho San Francisco tax attorney (Warren Keith), is forced to face his chronic failure to file his taxes, a tradition inherited from his “stick-it-to-the-man” dad (Robert Sicular).

Although Josh’s mission to square his debt sends him into a vortex of bureaucracy and need, it also strangely opens the door to new show-biz opportunities — including a screenwriting gig for a Hollywood producer (Harry Shearer) — and to finding a sweetly neurotic girlfriend, Sara (Sarah Overman).

Sara’s eventual pregnancy and firm conditions for marrying Josh add useful ticking-clock tension.

That it all somehow leads to revisiting Josh and Jacob’s (Anthony Nemirovsky) fortuitous collaboration on their first feature (a 2001 Sundance Film Festival entry), the office comedy “Haiku Tunnel,” feels a bit self-serving.

Still, the movie’s wryly optimistic tone, Woody Allen-esque flights of fancy and enjoyable cast, including Helen Shumaker, Nicholas Pelczar and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, make for a fun concoction.

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‘Love & Taxes’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood; Art Theater, Long Beach

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