Written and directed by Jeff Daniels, and the sophomore film production of his Purple Rose Films, “Super Sucker” substantiates the diverse talent of midwestern actors. Arising from Chelsea, Daniels created the showcasing company after immediate success from the production of “Escanaba en da Moonlight” and other theatrical endeavors.
Custom to Daniels’ unique style of comedic farce, “Super Sucker” portrays the persistent personalities of Midwestern “Super Sucker” salesman Harvey Barlow and his eccentric crew. Be careful not to mistake a “Super Sucker” for the average suction device typically called a vacuum. Fred Barlow and wife Bunny Barlow (Michelle Mountain, “Escanaba en da Moonlight”), attribute their quaint “happiness” and success to the Suckerton regime of family cleaning devices.
However, Barlow’s once legendary career as the Johnson City, Mich., Super Sucker salesman has faded from an “up, up, up” moral of optimism. Barlow’s career is on the brink of failure after battling and losing to the competing Super Sucker distribution company run by the corrupt Winslow Shnaebelt (Harve Presnell, “Patch Adams”). Third generation Suckerton president Cye Suckerton allows for Barlow and Shnaebelt to compete in one final sales contest in which the distributor with the most signed contracts in thirty days has sole privileges to the Johnson City market.
Initially Barlow’s team seems incompetent compared to Schnaebelt’s force of brightly-uniformed salesman and mass commercial tactics. With the help of new salesman Howard Butterworth (Matt Letscher, “The Mask of Zorro”) the group regenerates with the notion of selling happiness. Shnaebelt’s approach seems to be selling happiness; however, Barlow accelerates down the course of failure. Leaving work early in disarray, Barlow arrives at home to hear music, the vacuum cleaner and his wife in their bedroom. As Barlow approaches the door, moans and screams of pleasure increase. Inside the room, he witnesses her using the antique drapery cleaning attachment known as the “Homemaker’s Little Helper” to pleasure “those hard to reach places.”
The film’s humor lies within the absurdity of marketing vacuum cleaner attachments for non-traditional uses. Barlow’s already misfit crew is further accentuated by their outlandish tactics to sell appliances to needy women and men across the city. Barlow’s ironic endeavors are soon reported to the national association “Against the Abuses of Home Appliances” and the “Homemaker’s Little Helper” soon becomes a national controversy. The law prohibits such “unethical” uses of equipment and Barlow’s crew participates in a hilarious and unorthodox cat and mouse charade.
Matt Letscher portrays his character’s na