The Native American overtones of the unwieldy title have nothing to do with what goes on in Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire: What does go on is ”Party of Five” minus three. Real life cute brothers Steven and Derick Martini play movie cute orphans Tony and Chris Remi, who share a house in Los Angeles and fumble their way with cute women. Tony (the easy going would be actor) hits it off with a single mother (Christa Miller); Chris (the serious accountant) goes for an Italian animal wrangler (Rosemarie Addeo). Well, who wouldn’t?
Neophyte writer director Kevin Jordan and the Martinis (who cowrote) are longtime friends, and this sunny ode to brotherhood, made on a tiny budget, goes a fair distance on good vibes. Step outside their own front door, though, and the boys are lost: In a secondary plot about an old movie recording engineer (veteran character actor and jazz musician Bill Henderson) who regales Chris with stories of historic, all black Hollywood studios, the most interesting man in town is sidelined as a colorful, wisdom dispensing curio.