Fishbowl California follows the journey of two people with nothing to do all day, gravitating towards each other – like two fish stuck in a bowl.
On one hand, there is Rodney, Steve Olson (New Girl (TV), Ninja Cheerleaders), a man in his thirties with a girlfriend who refuses commitment and a home that will soon escape him if he doesn’t find a job soon – something very unlikely, as he seems to never be able to stay serious or calm in any given situation.
On the other, there is June, Katherine Cortez (Critters 3, Quantum Leap (TV)), an alcoholic widow who only leaves her home to go to the nearest convenience store to buy booze but otherwise is letting herself slowly die.
It is only when circumstances make them meet and forces them to spend time together that both start to improve their own – and each-other’s – lives.
Directed by Michael A. MacRae (Movie Cops (Short), The First Step (Short)), Fishbowl California is your typical feel-good comedy putting two unlikable and slightly misanthropist characters together to make them grow.
There is nothing original about it, nor does the movie ever truly resonates emotionally (probably because it is too conventional and similar to thousand other movies), but it is still a nice film with a good message: there are always second chances to be taken. The two leads and their chemistry is great
The comedic aspect works well for the most part, with a few genuinely funny moments. The main actor (Steve Olson) brings some physicality to the character’s humor, but sadly overdoes it most of the time, making an already unlikable character very annoying.
This character’s brand of humor, often childish, also brings the movie down from time to time. Fortunately, the other characters, while less comical, bring more balance to the humor of the movie and ground it a bit more in reality; especially June, very well portrayed by Katherine Cortez (although the “brash misanthropist old woman who drinks” is becoming too much of a trope lately and again, doesn’t feel very original).
In terms of pacing, the rhythm of the film slows down near the middle of it, dragging until a finale that is just as nice as the rest but nothing much more.
Fishbowl California ends up being a forgettable movie that is far from being bad, and could potentially improve your afternoon if you’re feeling down, but that isn’t going to provide anything beyond that.