(US - 2013)
Gerard Damiano (played here by Hank Azaria), the director of DEEP THROAT, died in 2008, but his son Gerard Jr denounced LOVELACE shortly after the film's limited release ($356,000 on 118 screens), saying it doesn't paint an accurate picture of his father or the making of DEEP THROAT. A few potent examples of horrifically antiquated attitudes pop up in the ensuing wreckage: Linda asking her mother for help and being told to go home and obey her husband; and some cops driving up on Traynor and a bruised, bloodied Linda fighting in the street, seeing that she's who she is and blaming the victim, telling Traynor "Sir, take her home and clean her up" as one asks for her autograph. But otherwise, the entire film is so hurried and cut so fast (and not in a "last third of GOODFELLAS" kind-of way), that it plays like you're watching a long "Previously on..." recap before the latest episode of a series called LOVELACE. Screenwriter Andy Bellin (who wrote the excellent and unseen 2011 film TRUST), and directors Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman (who previously collaborated on acclaimed documentaries like 1989's COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT and 1995's THE CELLULOID CLOSET, and Epstein directed 1984's THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK) are in such a mad rush to tell this story that none of these characters have a chance to get established. It plays fast and loose with facts, completely disregarding Lovelace's post-DEEP THROAT drug addiction because they're afraid she might look bad (her two children are credited as technical advisors). This LOVELACE is only interested in being an R-rated Lifetime movie about a battered wife. Granted, that's a major part of the story, but shouldn't this go--pardon the pun--deeper? Seyfried sinks her teeth into the role, probably thinking she'd be in a more honest and courageous film instead of the resulting one that gets bogged down with distracting cameos: in addition to Sevigny in perhaps the most frivolous role a past Oscar nominee has ever been given, Wes Bentley has one scene as a photographer; Eric Roberts shows up for maybe 25 seconds because he was in the similar STAR 80, and there's also small roles for Juno Temple, Debi Mazar, and Adam Brody as Harry Reems. Sarah Jessica Parker's performance as Gloria Steinem was cut out entirely. Stone and Patrick do some nice work with what they're given (Patrick is heartbreaking in one very good scene where he answers an early-morning phone call from Linda and tears well in his eyes as he quietly, sadly tells her "I saw your movie...did we do something wrong?"), and the production design is strong (perhaps Cannon cover band Millennium Films used the same '70s scenery on THE ICEMAN), but there's some really sloppy period detail elsewhere. As the film opens in 1970, Chuck is talking about THE FRENCH CONNECTION (released in 1971) and listening to Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," which wasn't recorded until 1975 and became a hit in 1976. Those are the least of LOVELACE's problems, but they're just two small indicators of its paper-thin carelessness, but to somewhat defend the filmmakers, there's a lot of red flags signaling that this thing was just massacred in post-production, so it's a legitimate possibility that this mess isn't entirely their fault. (R, 93 mins)
(US - 2013)
It's too bad Barry and director/co-writer Aram Rappaport spend so much time on the Will They or Won't They? romance between Scat and 6. It's not interesting and Heard and Fernandez have no chemistry. It's hard to tell who the intended audience for this is, but the film works best when it's making scathing digs at celebrity and image (when pitching Fukk to 6, Scat says the taste doesn't matter, people will convince themselves that they like it, and that "it's like drinking irony"), but those bits, so prevalent in the book, are few and far between here. Instead, Barry and Rappaport go for cheap and easy wordplay along the lines of "Why have a Fukk when you can down a Kok?" and a TV ad with Kirstie Alley exclaiming "Everybody wants a Fukk!" It's mostly a misfire, but as far as satirical looks at the advertising world go, it's a classic compared to something like BRANDED, but that's not exactly an endorsement. Boasting a $2.5 million budget, SYRUP was released on just one screen after two years on the shelf, grossing $663. It's too bad that, in adapting his book about a dumbed-down culture, Barry had to dumb it down himself. Sounds like a good subject for his next novel. (R, 90 mins)
(US - 2013)
MOVIE 43 look good, then behold the thoroughly excruciating INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY, a sketch comedy home movie directed by annoying ShamWow and Slap Chop pitchman Vince Offer. Before becoming an infomercial star, Offer tried his hand at KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE knockoffs with something called THE UNDERGROUND COMEDY MOVIE (1999), which boasted appearances by people like Karen Black, Slash, Michael Clarke Duncan, Gena Lee Nolin, and Joey Buttafuoco. Having failed to get the message that Hollywood wants nothing to do with him, Offer is back with this atrocity, which presents a series of unrelated and recurring skits that are seen as apps on Offer's tablet. We start with a topical 127 HOURS parody ("I've been down here for one hundred twentysomething hours...") before going to "Flirty Harry," a DIRTY HARRY spoof with Adrien Brody (yes, that Adrien Brody) as a gay cop in pink capris spouting tough-guy one-liners like "Go ahead, make me gay" and "Go ahead, blow me." Offer keeps up the winning streak with "Blackass," a thug parody of JACKASS, which basically involves white people being scared by gangstas. This is followed by "The Amazing Racist," where Ari Shaffir insults various races and ethnicities under the guise of a hidden camera show, taking potshots at Asian drivers by offering driving classes "for the round-eye impaired," then going to a Jewish market with a petition to get Jews to apologize for killing Jesus and offering a coupon for 50% off on rhinoplasties, and finally, confronting black people on a beach and offering them watermelon, fried chicken, basketballs, and a free, one-way boat trip back to Africa. There's also "Porno Review," where Rob Schneider and Michelle Rodriguez (yes, that Michelle Rodriguez) review porn flicks like SUSHI MAMA and SPERM LAKE while a guy in the row behind them jerks off into a tub of popcorn. The film is bookended by footage that Offer shot with Lindsay Lohan in 2010, imitating Marilyn Monroe's THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH, standing over a subway grate as wind from a passing train blows her skirt up, and then opening fire on some invasive paparazzi.
This is bad. Like, Friedberg/Seltzer, DATE MOVIE/MEET THE SPARTANS bad. Shelved for two years and sloppily-assembled (Lohan's scenes were shot for a different Offer project that was never finished, and some footage is even borrowed from the 14-year-old UNDERGROUND COMEDY MOVIE) in what seems like Offer's bid to position himself as the Al Adamson of unwatchable sketch comedies, INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY actually manages to go its entire miserable duration without a single laugh. How do you spoof comedy reality shows? You can't spoof JACKASS because it's already funny. Offer and the writers (Brody among them!) think being offensive and "shocking" is the joke, much like Friedberg & Seltzer think making a reference is all that's required for something to be instantly hilarious. But beyond that, what the fuck is Adrien Brody doing in this and willingly accepting a writing credit? He's OK with this but tried to halt the US release of Dario Argento's GIALLO? You know who the only winner is with INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY? Cuba Gooding, Jr. Thanks to Brody's humiliating participation in this, Gooding's post-JERRY MAGUIRE slide is no longer the most embarrassing career immolation for an Academy Award winner. All is forgiven, Mr. Gooding. But Brody? What the hell? You've worked with the revered likes of Argento, Roman Polanski, Spike Lee, Peter Jackson, Terrence Malick, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen. You like hanging out with Vince Offer? Fine. Do it on your own time. I expect to find Rob Schneider and Lindsay Lohan in something like this. But you have a reputation to uphold. Well, you had one. (R, 84 mins, also streaming on Netflix)