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‘A Little White Lie’ Review: Michael Shannon Is Much Better at Role-Play Than His Opportunistic Character

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Rene Rodriguez There’s nothing little about the whopper at the heart of “A Little White Lie,” a comic drama about fame and impostor syndrome.

The movie’s central conceit — pretending to be a renowned author, a janitor accepts an invitation to visit a liberal arts college — is rife with potential.

But writer-director Michael Maren (whose 2014 debut “A Short History of Decay” also featured an author protagonist) sticks to the obvious, ignoring potential themes of blind celebrity worship and oblivious academia that would have added some satirical edge to this genial but dull movie.

Based on Chris Belden’s 2013 novel “Shriver,” “A Little White Lie” focuses on a handyman (Michael Shannon) leading a reclusive life in a rundown apartment building who receives an invitation from a university to be the guest of honor at their annual literary festival.

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