MUFFIN TOP, A LOVE STORY

This micro-budget fats-ploitation comedy (⋆⋆½) deserves a B for effort. Cathryn Michon — who stars, co-wrote and produced it with aid from hundreds of Kickstarter supporters — is Suzanne, a newly divorced teacher now lonely, except for her affectionate dog, and even he tends to kiss her with too much tongue. Long on self-deprecation, and still longer on over-the-belt adipose tissue, she is a plump minnow in the shark pool of L.A.’s dating scene. Hoping to meet new guys, she enters the post-separation socializing scene. Too bad. It’s logistically awkward, deathly lackluster and a magnet for various types of damned souls. What follows is a nonstop series of set pieces — some witty, some garish, some a tad tired — that offer plenty of opportunities for Suzanne’s increasingly pessimistic power plays. The script tosses out a conventional three-act structure in favor of small, tragicomic vignettes. Michon’s absurd, appalled portrait is, without doubt, comic on occasion, encouraging us to support the sad sack, then giggle at her unbearable date candidates. Co-stars include the ever-working David Arquette and Marcia Wallace, a voice player on “The Simpsons” since the beginning of time. It’s not “Bridesmaids” quality; it’s tolerably funny but also, in the end, sort of sad. (Rated R for sexual content. Theatres at Mall of America.)

COLIN COVERT