Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 2001. Fine Line Features, Pas de Quoi, Ghoulardi Film Company. Screenplay by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Cumming. Cinematography by John Bailey. Produced by Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, JoAnne Sellar. Music by Michael Penn. Production Design by Emma Fairley. Costume Design by Christopher Lawrence. Film Editing by Carol Littleton, Suzanne Spangler. Independent Spirit Awards 2001. National Board of Review Awards 2001.
Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming put together this digitally shot, low-budget drama after they performed together in the Broadway production of Cabaret. Gathering an assortment of friends and former co-stars, they play a recently reunited show business couple who throw a six-year anniversary party at their stylish Los Angeles home for all their closest friends. Throughout the course of the evening they play party games, bicker with the neighbours, discuss their careers, and then do some ecstasy to really get things flowing. In between two hours of positively boring conversations, there are a few well-conceived moments, but really only enough to fill a half-hour television episode and not a feature-length film. Leigh and Cumming do a great job of coming up with real dialogue and elicit fantastic performances from their actors, but the story is virtually non-existent and what does go on in front of the camera isn’t all that interesting. Leigh’s real-life sister Mina Badie gives the best performance as their sensitive next-door neighbour, while Phoebe Cates (Leigh’s co-star from Fast Times At Ridgemont High) shines as a fictional version of herself, an actress married to a famous actor (Kevin Kline, also her real-life husband) who has retired to raise her two children.