Super Sucker

on January 24, 2003 by Jon Alon Walz
What led the talented and versatile actor Jeff Daniels to make his writing and directing debut with "Super Sucker" is a question as strange as his film.

As a rivalry between two warring gangs of Johnson City Super Sucker Vacuum Cleaner salesmen--one headed by Jeff Daniels' Fred Barlow--heads to a nuclear meltdown, the main office springs a 30-day sales contest on them to determine which ambitious group will continue selling to the lucrative Johnson City territory and which will get the boot.

Barlow, obsessed for some reason with the Super Sucker vacuum cleaner since birth, has followed his life's dream and is now a proud franchise owner, complete with a team of proteges selling the units door-to-door. But now, with the contest in full swing and the dirty tricks beginning, Barlow is in need of help and inspiration from someone or something somewhere to keep his dream from being sucked away.

Arriving home early from work one day, Barlow find his wife in bed with the Super Sucker, utilizing its 1920s-era vintage dusting attachment for non-housekeeping purposes. Barlow has an epiphany that the key to defeating his opponents is by working blue...that is, manufacturing these attachments anew for the town's lonely housewives. He has a hit on his hands, and once the national media feels the vibrations from Johnson City, they show up. So do reps from the Super Sucker main office and spies from his competition.

"Super Sucker" is a surprisingly dark and mean-spirited picture from a guy who is universally regarded as one of the nicest actors around. The quirky and bizarre nature of the material would have been better suited to a director more nimble with absurd, broad and physical humor. Starring Jeff Daniels, Matt Letscher, Harve Presnell, Dawn Wells and John Seibert. Directed and written by Jeff Daniels. Produced by Tom Spiroff. A Purple Rose release. Comedy. Unrated. Running time: 91 min

Tags: tarring Jeff Daniels, Matt Letscher, Harve Presnell, Dawn Wells and John Seibert, Directed, written by Jeff Daniels, Produced by Tom Spiroff, Purple Rose, Comedy

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