Austin Found

In the self-regarding city of Austin, Texas, an obsessive stage mother (Linda Cardellini) to an impish 11-year-old pageant contestant (Ursula Parker of FX’s Louie) enlists a yahoo ex-boyfriend (Skeet Ulrich) and his good-natured pal (Craig Robinson) to kidnap and then release the girl so that the media frenzy surrounding her disappearance can be used to land a book deal. Screenwriters Brenna Graziano and Will Raée pilfer their rickety plot from Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo (1996), right down to the ugly-ducking investigator (Kristen Schaal as a local TV reporter) who unravels the conspiracy amid touching heart-to-heart talks with her partner (Matt Jones as the reporter’s cameraman). There’s some sharp satire early on, but the criminal partnership between the mother and boyfriend strains credulity and the movie lacks the gravitas required for its late detour into emotionally ugly drama. Raée directed.