Brave New Jersey

On the night of Orson Welles’s famous War of the Worlds broadcast on October 30, 1938, the population of a small farm town in New Jersey take preparations to fight imagined alien invaders. Jody Lampert, directing a script he wrote with Michael Dowling, attempts to play the scenario for comedy, though the film isn’t very funny. It isn’t very engaging either: the characterizations are thin, the jokes fall flat, and the plot complications are predictable. The town’s ineffectual mayor proves himself to be heroic, the local big shot reveals himself to be a coward, and the bumbling pastor finds his faith in the crisis. Tony Hale (of the TV series Arrested Development and Veep) gives a sweet performance as the mayor, but the rest of the cast is bland.