(director: James Cullen Bressack; screenwriter: based on a play and screenplay by Gordon Bressack; cinematographer: Michael Moghaddam; editor: Theoderic Ripper; music: Tim Jones; cast: Kristos Andrews (Cooper), Galadriel Stineman (Bridgette), Maurice LaMarche (George), Charles M. Howell IV (Charlie), Spencer Breslin (Blain), Sally Kirkland (Nancy), Carla Collins (Marie); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: James Cullen Bressack/Jarrett Furst/Gregori J. Martin: Red Phoenix Productions; 2022)

“I can appreciate it as a son’s sincere homage to the dad he loved.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A sharp comedy about writing for the theater or movies that’s slyly directed by James Cullen Bressack (“Hot Seat”/”Beyond the Law”) and scripted by his late father Gordon (wrote Pinky and the Brain) from his play. Gordon died at age 70.

George (
Maurice LaMarche) and Charlie (Charles M. Howell IV) are aging playwrights trying to write together a script for “Murder, Anyone?”, either as a movie or a play. Each differs on what it will be (George argues for an arty stage production, Charlie for a money-making commercial film ). When their arguments come together in real-time it also becomes part of the work.

The script, supposedly a neo-noir thriller or some kind of surrealist work, is in a constant
cut back and forth mode between scenes, as the two writers create their work of fiction on the fly.

Characters and story are in flux, as things keep changing during the writing.

It’s all carried out in good-natured fun that’s meant to poke fun at how writers may actually work.

Only four main characters appear in the production of the script, with the heroine
Bridgette (Galadriel Stineman) giving us fits for being so moody. A nice comic bit (wearing a chicken costume) is performed by the former child actor Spencer Breslin as Blain. Kristos Andrews plays Cooper (living off his rich relatives) with self-assurance and mystery, and Cara Collins sparkles as Marie–a blind French medium.

When zombies reach the screen, the good will it gathered early on started to dissipate, as I was beginning to have enough of its silliness. But by the end I can appreciate it as a son’s sincere homage to the dad he loved.

REVIEWED ON 11/15/2022  GRADE: B