Mel (Marc Maron) owns a pawn shop in Alabama. One afternoon, Cynthia (Jillian Bell) brings in an antique sword, inherited from her grandfather, which she and her wife Mary (Michaela Watkins) believe should be worth a lot of money because he has offered proof that the South won the Civil War.
Mel’s doofus employee Nathaniel (Jon Bass) finds evidence of conspiracy theories online, including a group called Invictusians. Some unsavory types become very interested in obtaining that sword, including a man nicknamed Hog Jowls, and a weird journey commences with all four of them linked together, hoping to score big on a sale.
In an improv-based silly situation, “Sword of Trust” mines the land of Dixie for laughs. Director Lynn Shelton, who co-wrote the script with Mike O’Brien, has thrown together a strange group to engage us in mundane conversations, but their flair for nimbly creating characters elevates the film’s slender premise. The quartet and a several supporting goofball characters play off each other well.
Those who enjoy offbeat humor and improvisational comedy, and/or are fans of Marc Maron, will likely appreciate it more than others. Maron, a longtime stand-up comic who has a popular podcast and can be seen on the series ‘Glow,” has a world-weary demeanor and a dry delivery, so he is very funny -- and able to stick the landing.
But the director doesn’t convincingly resolve everything, and that has been evident in Shelton’s previous films, “Humpday” and “Your Sister’s Sister.” She can’t wrap up a film properly, and this one needed some resolution. The low-key film certainly meanders, but most of the time, that’s part of its quirky charm.
Maron also wrote the songs featured in the film. Who knew? They add an interesting depth of flavor.
Sometimes, an amiable, rambling slice-of-life is a pleasant diversion.