Satire is not a blunt instrument. In the hands of an overzealous filmmaker, jokes and pointed barbs can readily fly over your head, leaving you to think "Hey, wait, was that supposed to be funny? Cuz it kinda was." (Or, even worse, the satire is presented in such a ham-fisted fashion that the insight ends up buried beneath moronic punchlines) Such is quite definitely not the case in Delirious, a poker-faced but insightful and amusing comedic drama that takes square aim at pop stars, paparazzi and stargazers without ever settling for the obvious joke or the predictable punchline. This comes as no big surprise to me, considering that the writer/director of Delirious is Tom DiCillo, frequent Jim Jarmusch cinematographer and rather astute filmmaker in his own right. (DiCillo gave us Johnny Suede, The Real Blonde and -- one of my favorite movies about filmmakers -- the excellent Living in Oblivion)

Delirious is the tale of a kind-hearted but depressingly unfocused homeless kid called Toby (played brilliantly by Michael Pitt) who starts an unlikely friendship with a fast-talking paparazzi photographer named Les (Steve Buscemi, as good as he's ever been) and somehow manages to find himself in close proximity to K'harma Leeds, a teen idol pop sensation who is as beautiful as she is obtuse. (As the pop star, Alison Lohman is nothing short of stellar; she avoids the really obvious digs on Lindsay, Brittney and Paris ... but she sure does nail 'em to the wall anyway)