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ROOM FOR RENT: 3 STARS. “light-hearted dark comedy and cautionary tale.”

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you won the lottery? Mitch Baldwin’s (Mark Little) didn’t have to. He won the Mega Max Lotto as a high school senior. “Room for Rent” is his story, a cautionary tale about the high cost of having and losing money.

$3.5 million is a lot of money. The kind of money that seems like it will last forever. But, as Mitch learned, when you spend like a drunken sailor it only lasts about twelve years. Forced to move back in with his parents Warren and Betty (Mark McKinney and Stephnie Weir) he is humiliated; a guy who had it all and blew it. Even worse, his father wants to retire and insists Mitch starts to pay his fair share. Unwilling to get a job Mitch decides to move to the garage and rent out his bedroom.

The first person to show up is Carl Lemay (Brett Gelman). He’s a smooth talker with a pocket full of cash, willing to pay the several months in advance. Aggressively friendly, he soon ingratiates himself into Warren and Betty’s lives and gives Mitch life advice. Things get weird around the house when some of Carl’s stories turn out to be lies. “I will grind you down into a tiny little knob of a person,” carls tells Mitch as hostilities rise.

“Room for Rent” is a light-hearted dark comedy about the consequences of frittering away a fortune. Carl is a character but he’s also a metaphor of Mitch’s comeuppance. Gelman plays Carl for all he is worth. He’s mysterious, obnoxious and the catalyst for a story that gets weirder and weirder as it threatens to turn into a horror movie. Writer-director Matthew Atkinson finds a happy mix between the humour and the domestic horror, creating a film that is as fun as it is unique.

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