inchoative: a journal

2014-11-22

I will now review a dated indie drama: House of Yes (1997)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inchoative @ 12:14 pm

Tom Shales’s hilarious review in the Washington Post was right. This thing is basically a dog. It feels like a young screenwriter’s awkward pastiche of Faulkner and Williams with a bit of Whit Stillman – which might not be a concept completely destined for failure, but is certainly one that’s a potential minefield of faux-pas. Some of them are structural: you know halfway through what is going to happen, and that makes the denouement seem even more rushed and perfunctory than it does. As short a film as it is, it almost feels too long. Some problems involve casting. Prinze Jr.’s performance is exceptionally weak and implausible as the likely half brother to Josh Hamilton. He doesn’t have the range for roles like this: settling down as Mr. Michelle Geller was a very wise move for him. Tori Spelling is similarly out of her depth. There are even odd little stylistic anomalies: I’ve never seen an upper-middle or upper class person drinking Pepsi in my life. So the Pepsi & Rum scene is either baffling or some strange attempt at an in-joke. Paid product placement, perhaps?
I give it 3 stars instead of 2 because there are a few flashes of cleverness in the writing. “A mother doesn’t spy, a mother pays attention” is exactly the sort of thing an icy Prussian hausfrau might say.
If you want a fun indie drama of this period, there are better offerings like The Opposite of Sex.

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