Even if the film festival guides hadn't reminded me that the low-key indie comedy American Fork came from one of the Napoleon Dynamiteproducers ... I think I might have figured it out on my own. That's not to say that the films are all that similar, really, but that they both feature main characters who are grown-ups on the exterior and trapped in a state of perpetually unpleasant adolescence beneath the surface. Not particularly deep beneath the surface, either.
First-time screenwriter Hubbel Palmer stars as Tracy Orbison, a 6-foot-4-inch massive mound of a young man, and one who has only a few minor things going for him. Tracy seems to enjoy his dead-end job at the local supermarket, and he's got a mother and a sister who genuinely seem to care for the guy, but beyond that Tracy is as insecure, immature and rudderless as a guy can possibly be. The clueless yet strangely ingratiating misfit bounces from hobby to hobby and from acquaintance to acquaintance, desperately looking for something (and someone) to share his time with. Failing that, the guy simply loves to jot away in his journal.
One of Tracy's more recent obsessions is that of acting: He tries to befriend a local actor, a jackass who turns out to be as arrogant as he is insincere -- and Tracy greets the eventual disappointment with a sigh known only to the frequently disappointed. Then he tries to befriend a teenager who just started working at the supermarket -- but the kid's sleazy friends abuse Tracy's good nature in a really terrible way. And then come some seriously unpleasant accusations that have Tracy ducking into alleys, afraid to even show his face in his own neighborhood.