It's hard to remember, but back in the early 1990s, Hal Hartley was regarded as the hot young American indie filmmaker, and the 1997 Henry Fool, a seriously frivolous allegory on art, fame, fate, and the power of the Internet, was hailed as his breakthrough. Hartley's career promptly stumbled; Henry Fool's belated sequel, Fay Grim, seems nearly an act of desperation. Three of the principals return: the Queens sanitation-man-turned-poet Simon Grim (professionally affectless James Urbaniak); his sister Fay (Parker Posey); and, briefly, the saturnine mystery tramp who changed their life, Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan). A decade has passed as the CIA comes to Queens in the form of Jeff Goldblum, who appears as a duplicitous spook. Not lacking for ambition, Fay Grim adds a topical, national-security subtext to Henry Fool's more romantic concerns: The MacGuffin is a series of confessional notebooks that Henry may have written in a code that amounts to a secret, highly damning history of the Reagan era. Off to Paris in search of the notebooks, Posey looks smashing in a fitted town-coat ensemble, and, for perhaps 40 minutes, Fay Grim actually sort of works as a comic thriller. But it's precisely when Fay Grim strains for the big narrative revelation that it seems least consequential.