‘Infinity Baby’ mines futuristic concept for sharply observed laughs

Kieran Culkin and Noël Wells in “Infinity Baby.” Contributed by Matthias Grunsky

Austin-based filmmaker Bob Byington is no stranger to South by Southwest. The festival screened his previous two features, 2012’s “Somebody Up There Likes Me” and 2014’s “7 Chinese Brothers.” He returned to the Zach this weekend for the world premiere of his latest film, a gleefully sardonic comedy sharply observed in black-and-white across our fair city.

This time around, Byington is working from another writer’s script (“Catfight” director Onur Tukel), but it’s easy to see how the tone and humor are closely aligned with his previous efforts. Frequent collaborators Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Kevin Corrigan, Martin Starr and Stephen Root are all on hand and collectively create a deliriously large number of laugh-out-loud moments.

In the not too distant future, Ben (Kieran Culkan) is working for Infinity Baby, a company founded by his uncle (Offerman) to unload an overabundance of genetically modified babies who are unable to age.

These babies sleep a lot, rarely cry and, thanks to a regimented cycle of pills, only need to have their diapers changed once a week. Ben has a new girlfriend only slightly more frequently, choosing to utilize a convoluted plot to dump them and move on to the next woman.

These far-fetched story elements combine to craft a legitimately hysterical film that manages to be satirical but relatable in its comedy. If the tone were different, some of the gags could border on mean-spirited (as when one character blinds his boyfriend after spraying him in the face repeatedly with cleaning solution), but here they read more as absurd than actually cruel.

The laughs are punctuated by outstanding hip-hop beats courtesy of Aesop Rock, one of the more unique musical scores I’ve heard of late. To top it all off, the end credits are accompanied by the Sugarcubes’ classic track “Delicious Demon.” While I’m not sure if that is supposed to be a commentary on these unnatural (but adorable) babies, I can’t help but feel like Björk and Einar would approve.

A buzz screening of “Infinity Baby” has been added at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Alamo South Lamar. You also can catch it at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Stateside Theatre.

 

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