Like listening to someone drone on about the minutiae of their hobby for 77 minutes, “Chasing the Blues” has you checking your watch for the entirety of its thankfully brief running time. The characters at the black heart of this bleak comedy are consumed by their need for a rare record, but none of their passion translates to the audience.
Set in 1987 and 2007, “Chasing the Blues” follows a pair of record collectors in search of the single copy of a blues song whose recording involved murder and violence. In 1987, Alan (Grant Rosenmeyer) gets a tip about a widow (Anna Maria Horsford) whose husband’s death left her with his massive record collection.
But when Alan arrives, he finds fellow aficionado Paul (Ronald L. Conner) is already waiting with the same goal: owning the rare record. Meanwhile, in 2007, Alan is released from prison after 20 years and gets a tip on the elusive record from a smarmy government worker (Jon Lovitz) that brings him from Chicago to small-town Mississippi.
The script from director Scott Smith and co-writer Kevin Guilfoile thinks the rivalry between the two collectors is enough to sustain the narrative, but it doesn’t devote much of its energies to developing the relationship between Alan and Paul. Tonal issues also pervade the underdeveloped script, whose bursts of darkness don’t work within the otherwise bland film.
‘Chasing the Blues’
Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills