A depressed, egomaniacal director, a disillusioned producer and a charismatic, troubled starlet walk into a bar. There are plenty of punchlines, but the outcome is always the same: a complete mess. Enter the two editors on cleanup duty whose job it is to put the dysfunctional pieces back together into some semblance of a watchable movie - whilst juggling their own friendship, the demands of their better halves, and a host of technical snafus.

Such is the premise for film-within-a-film Supporting Characters, a Tribeca darling and Daniel Schecter's directorial follow up to 2007's Goodbye Baby. It's low budget fare with the attendant self-deprecating sensibility and lack of bells and/or whistles, but that's more than made up for with an abundance of snappy dialogue, brilliant set-ups and astute human observation.

Indeed, there are some moments (almost entirely awkward, naturallu) that so effortlessly capture the ambivalence of self-deception, that the film feels philosophical without ever actually trying to be. The catalyst for Nick and Darryl's soul searching is Jamie (Arielle Kebbel) - the heroine of the almost-doomed ill-conceived comedy about a ditzy dog walker modelled on the directors ex. She's a sexy star amongst nerds and she knows it, talking dirty in the voice-over room and utterly beguiling the man who follows her every move on screen for weeks.

The real star of the show however is the chemistry between Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and his editing buddy Darryl (Tairk Lowe) a.k.a. D-Money - much to his chagrin. The obvious (but fair) comparison is to J.D. and Turk, albeit neither Nick or Darryl are cool and their relationship is more dysfunctional. The race card makes a couple of borderline cringe-worthy appearances but each time succeeds by dint of Darryl seeming just as uncomfortable in his own skin as Nick does referencing it. Otherwise Darryl's naiveté is a wonderfully funny counter-point to his senior's pseudo-worldly-wisdom and whether they're arguing over whether Rodney the door man makes the cut in the edit suite or chewing over extra-marital temptation in a urinal, their believable, increasingly heart-warming yet tragic repartee is what truly carries the film.

Supporting Characters has a straight-forward narrative that invests you in the meta-film's outcome. You root for it, and as much as you rubber-neck at the frequent car-crashes of ego, poor judgement in love and Nick's attempts at genuine moral guidance, you root for the characters even more. Without spoiling the final cut, suffice to say the time-line leading up to it rendered me breathless with laughter in parts; intelligent but downbeat humour, three-dimensional characters (save maybe Darryl's flame Liana, nevertheless played to impeccable pouty petulance by Melonie Diaz) make for a modern-day screwball comedy that could easily command a cult following.