Release Date: September 22nd, 2005 (NYC-Two Boots Pioneer Theater)
The Cast: Nancy Bell, Kevin Chamberlin, Melanie Chapman, Joe Mellis, Kit Pongetti, Michael James Reed, James Tupper
Directed by Adam Watstein.
BASIC PREMISE: After selling their hit film at Sundance, married couple Catherine (Chapman) and Jason (Mellis) move to LA from New York and host their first dinner party with one rule: no talking business.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Catherine and Jason's evening starts very peacefully as they get ready for their dinner party. Catherine prepares the pasta and salad, while Jason brings out the alcohol. Before the guests arrive, they both agree that no topic related to the film industry will come up during the party. That's the ultimate challenge because in LA, that's usually what's on people's minds---especially small actors and producers that are invited to the party. The party only has a total of seven people, but with so much happens in just one night, that it seems so much bigger. The first conflict arises when a Charlie (Chamberlin) arrives. He is a very stubborn, selfish, and arrogant producer and annoys everybody with his rudeness, even the hosts. Nancy Bell gives a very good performance as the beautiful actress Blake, who is quite full of herself yet always smiles no matter what. The conversations really heat up when all seven of them sit down for dinner. Charlie complains that the pasta should have been served in separate bowls rather than on the plate. All of a sudden, the conversation topic turns to just what the hosts didn't want: business. The rest of the film is very much like a soap opera, as characters talk about their careers in Hollywood, including Kim (Pongetti) a small actress who has a script that an actor at the party happened to have once read and liked. There are a few shocking revelations, but nothing that leads to any slaps in the face. The entire film is shot in digital video and seems, intentionally, like a documentary. The fact the dialogue is improvised without a script shows in a few scenes, but, fortunately, it goes mostly unnoticeable. However, although the interesting characters are there, along with their motivations, there could have been more humor to spice up all of the serious drama.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: This is not even remotely as insightful as My Dinner with Andre, but it still sends one basic message that it is inevitable for most people in LA to end up talking about their film careers. The issue of how everything comes down to money comes up once, but is not elaborated. Not surprisingly, some of these people end up stepping on others--or sleeping with them--to get what they want. It's certainly not easy to adjust to life in LA, especially coming from New York.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal plot, no humor, and not enough insight.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: Despite no script, there are some surprisingly good performances, interesting characters and conflicts. Although this film certainly lives up to its title with plenty of talk, it does really add up to many beans.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (2nd Run)
The "L" Menu