Josh Bell

Me and You and Everyone We Know, the debut feature from performance artist July, can be summed up in one moment: Asked how he hurt his bandaged hand, shoe salesman Richard (Hawkes) answers, with complete sincerity, "I was trying to save my own life." Such mannered pronouncements are common throughout July's pretentious, self-involved film, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to come off the indie-movie assembly line at Sundance, where July developed the script.

The dialogue is so contrived, the characters so self-consciously quirky that Me and You (which had its local screening at this year's CineVegas Film Festival) feels like a parody of an indie movie. It tries to find beauty and profundity in the mundane, with cabbie and performance artist Christine (July) gleaning insights about life from a goldfish in a bag that falls off of an SUV. It's the kind of movie that has a pre-teen girl who collects housewares in a hope chest to use as a dowry, a 6-year-old boy who talks about poop in online sex chat rooms and a sad-sack shoe salesman who sets his hand on fire to "save his own life," none of whom ever come across as anything more than figments of July's own narcissistic imagination.

Me and You is a plotless musing on unhappy people, including the aforementioned shoe salesman and cabbie-performance artist, who engage in a sort of awkward courtship that is undoubtedly meant to be charming but is mostly just off-putting (the same could be said of the movie as a whole). There are also a pair of girls engaged in a psychosexual game with one of Richard's co-workers, and Richard's two sons, both of whom spend too much time online. July consistently mistakes awkwardness for insight; no one in the film has anything close to a normal social interaction with another person.

Not one of the situations resembles real life or even a particularly illuminating analogue thereof. July makes an effort to deflate some of the pretentiousness by mocking an art gallery director's snobbery, but when it's impossible to tell the difference between the mock-pretentious statements of the director and the theoretically profound statements of the characters, it's obvious that July has gotten entirely lost in her own pretensions.

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