If Who Framed Roger Rabbit? were drawn by gifted children, tossed into a blender with the 1960s Batman TV series and sprinkled with extra camp just for good measure, it would be this superhero short film featuring Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As you might have guessed, Sidekicks was made via Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord for his Pivot television show of the same name.
The Dark Knight Rises pair reunite (one as a villain, the other as a hero) to blast bold, quippy threats in the background of what is really a silly story about two sidekicks getting to know and like one another. It’s made mostly with green screen magic, constructed of a fun hodge podge of cartoon visuals blended with the live-action nonsense. It’s candy coated, and what they chose to animate (or blend animation with) is fantastically clever.
As per usual, the main pair are excellent, spitting sugary venom with every line of a script that never gets too hip for its own good (and she’s right about antibiotics and viruses). Their relegation to the side story is exactly what allows them to go for broke, and it works wonders. Plus, the two #2s are worthy of the spotlight, crafting a casual friendship in the height of a life-or-death struggle that reaches beyond the surface level. By the end, they are supportive, nurturing pals, finding solace in each other’s company despite their naturally degrading position at work.
Posting if on Facebook, Gordon-Levitt claims that he and Hathaway’s characters are both assholes, but they seem like straightforward comic book fare to me, which raises the question of how truly egomaniacal superheroes and supervillains really are. On a scale of 1 to 10, the answer, of course, is “Secret Lair.”
Like all great superhero movies, Sidekicks also features an excellent cameo at the end. No, it’s not Samuel L. Jackson. Guess again.