Full Frontal review by Tom Blain

Aimless

The good movies stick with you. They sit in your noggin for as long as a week and even affect the way think. A David Lynch film my warp your sense of reality. Scenes and visuals from the movie may stick to your head like peanutbutter to the roof of a dogs mouth. A funny movie may have you quoting it up and down hours after you have seen the first showing. I remember after seeing Drowning Mona (yes Drowning Mona) I was laughing at scenes that were being replayed in my head. I almost got into an accident heading north on I-75. Some dramas can pull at your heartstrings for days on end. "Oh how could he leave her like that ." So now that I have built up my opener I will tear it down by telling you that I forgot that I had seen Full Frontal approximately 3 hours after the credits have rolled.

Steven Soderburgh is the writer/director of the film. Since sex, lies and videotapes Soderburgh has been the hippest thing in Hollywood. He is a buzz worrd. If you know who Steven Soderburgh is, you are cool as Coltrane. He practically revived independant film (years before Quiten Tarantino filmed Pulp Fiction), and recently won an Oscar for his epic drug war film Traffic. And what is hipper in Hollywood that making a cynical movie mocking your bread and butter? Everyone is doing it... Altman has THE PLAYER... Mammet has STATE AND MAIN... Woody Allen has most movies he has done in the 90s and most recently HAPPY ENDING. I can see Steven Soderburgh's chops just whetting at the thought of scewering La-la land.

So what do I remember about this less than memorable indy setup? Its a film that attempts to critique Hollywood, and the star system, and producers who everyone apparently knows, and it makes some racial commentary on black actors, etc,etc. Its a film within a film, shooting inside a film, with another camera filming the filiming of that film. Its a hodgepodge of independant critiques on daily lives, etc, etc. But there is so much damn 'etc' that it becomes completely incoherant and uninteresting. Its chopped up so much that it never seems hit on any one point.

Part of the problem is that its one of those movies that tries to juggle its ensemble cast. Julia Roberts (quickly becoming a Steven Soderburgh leading lady) plays an actress who makes bu-koo (spelling on that? Its phoenetic...spellcheck on 'pho-net-ic' while you are at it) bucks. Probably something Julia had to study long and hard to hit just right. Half the time we see her acting in the character that her character is playing though. It can be confusing. David Hyde Pierce plays a depressed writer who lives next to Count Dracula. Catherine Keener is his cheeting wife who revels in firing people (lets hope my company's HR is a little more PC). Brad PItt makes a few cameo appearances as Brad Pitt. His prescense actually lends some much needed comedy to a mostly dull film.

There are some darkly comedic parts to the film. There is the actor for a small time theatre that plays a self-reflexive Hitler. David Duchovny plays the big shot producer who's only on-screen speaking part is during a massage. Let your imagination wander. Its pretty funny. But there are stilll 80 minutes of film that just dont do it for me. It seems that Steven Soderburgh was looking to make a film where his actors could just 'improvise' and make each role their's. Something they could sink their teeth into and in turn would produce some sort of complete film. Instead its a film that shoots out in all sorts of different directions. It starts many projects but never completes one and leaves the audience feeling incomplete. Bummer.




3 out of 10 Jackasses
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