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Ellie Parker (Unrated)

Release Date: November 11th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Naomi Watts, Scott Coffey, Mark Pellegrino, Fanshen Cox, Blair Mastbaum, Rebecca Rigg, Chevy Chase.
Directed by Scott Coffey.

BASIC PREMISE: Ellie Parker (Watts) struggles to balance her acting career in Hollywood with her private life.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There’s a certain guilty pleasure the beautiful actresses Naomi Watts play Ellie Parker, a character that ends up in one embarrassing situation after another. Shot with digital video on a shoestring budget, Ellie Parker has a “documentary” feel to it. Unfortunately, the contrived plot is far from reality. It seems like one long Saturday Night Live skit that starts off fresh and funny, but stretched to 95 minutes, the humor quickly diminishes into pure shock value. While Ellie struggles to succeed in Hollywood, she must choose between Justin (Pellegrino), her current cheating boyfriend and Chris (Coffey), who she meets when he accidentally bumps his car against hers. Neither men are particularly likeable or trustworthy, but she tags along with Chris, anyway while ignoring Justin’s messages on her cell-phone. There are plenty of awkward scenes, such as actors in therapy who pretend to be different animals. In another scene, Ellie pukes a blue liquid, but the joke extends too far to be genuinely hilarious. Then while in the car with her best friend Sam (Rigg), she competes with her to see who can cry first. The most surprising and hilarious scene is when Chevy Chase suddenly shows up as Ellie’s manager. With poor editing and the shaky hand-held camera, Ellie Parker is often nauseating. The characters are too one-dimensional and unlikable for one to actually care about what happens to any of them. On a positive note, it’s refreshing to watch Naomi Watts give an edgy performance that makes the film mildly entertaining.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Ellie Parker searches for meaning and stability in her chaotic Hollywood life. However, there’s not much to learn from her crazy experiences other than how difficult and stressful life in Hollywood can be, especially as an actor.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal, redundant plot and unlikable, one-dimensional characters.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Naomi Watts gives a bold performance, but the humor feels too forced, the plot never really takes off, and the shaky camera creates too much nausea.


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