Written and directed by Chase Pearson, Charles and Maryanne Bailey, the proud owners of a small accounting firm, reflect on the absurd yet true stories of their past assistants in the 1980’s. Starring: Ray Bergen, Kathy McCort, Timothy J. Cox, Colleen Sproull, Kate McGarrigle, Erin Patrick Miller, Joan Shangold, Coco Conroy, Greer Barnes and Elis Xhafa.
Trying to find a reliable assistant who wants to stick it out for the long haul can be a difficult task, but the Baileys find themselves in a run of bad luck while searching for theirs. Vengeance, criminality and compulsive lying are on the cards for this unfortunate pair who simply want a little help getting through the busy tax season at their accounting firm, although perhaps their overly polite nature doesn’t set them down the easy path. There’s almost a mockumentary style to it, as though it were a real tv show from the 80s exploring this couple’s absurd history with assistants, which adds a nice charm through its almost sarcastic and heavy narration.
It’s a great example of an ensemble piece, having the younger and older versions of the Baileys, as well as their various hellish assistants, they each get a piece of the comedy, it isn’t falling heavily in any particular direction, there’s a nice spread against each of the cast. However, a particular highlight would be younger Charles Bailey (Cox) discussing the potential arrest of one of these assistants with an FBI agent (Barnes), it’s a really great interaction and hits the emotive facial reactions nicely timed with the comedy. All of the cast hit their comedic timing really well, they smoothly embrace the cheesy vibe of its 80s setting and yet they impressively don’t feel over the top, instead it simply lands in a very era appropriate atmosphere.
One of the more surprising elements is that the comedy isn’t simple, it has a few extra things up its sleeve and they’re genuinely quite clever, it’s sincerely funny and keeps a consistent hit of laughs all throughout the runtime, without a lull. The direction also really incorporates that 80s setting into its style and visual which works really well, it feels extremely era fitting and there’s an almost endearing quality to it. There’s a classic style to the humour, it isn’t simple but its overall impression is very familiar and again, fitting to the choice of era, with a lot of straight but unexpected statements that bring forth the humour without becoming melodramatic or revealing themselves too quickly. All of which is supported by sets, costumes, hair and makeup, it’s easy to see that effort has gone into adding the extra touches to round out that 80s feel.
The Jungle of Accounting is genuinely funny, it has a lot to offer in its relatively brief 10-minutes, with a few surprises up its sleeve and a slick, satisfying quality to its writing. Every single member of the cast hits the comedy notes perfectly to push the emphasis on its well written one-liners and set-ups. It’s overall an impressive outing from Pearson in only his second short film, and it will be very interesting to see what he comes up with next. Who knew a film about accounting could be such a good time?