Prior to making American Movie, his hilarious, groundbreaking documentary about an obsessive indie filmmaker, Chris Smith honed his craft on the less accomplished Home Movie. This one cuts among five kooky Americans who are wedded to their unusual, self-designed residences, which include a houseboat in Louisiana, a tree house in Hawaii, and a converted missile silo in Kansas. A C&W singer (and George Jones look-alike) has made a push-button home, with rooms that spin around and live-in robots. A feline-crazy married couple have turned their house into a playground of ramps for their nine obese cats.
But these proceedings sound nuttier in the description than they turn out to be in the actual film. Smith’s people are rarely the gloriously loony storytellers that we get in, for example, the documentaries of Errol Morris. There are too few great moments to match the one when the houseboat guy, who raises toothy alligators, shows off his chewed-up leg and declares, "If you fool with alligators, you gonna get bit." (65 minutes)