(director/writer: Ry Russo-Young; screenwriter: Lena Dunham; cinematographer: Christopher Blauvelt; editor: John Walter; music: Fall on Your Sword; cast: John Krasinski (Peter), Olivia Thirlby (Martine), Rosemarie DeWitt (Julie), India Ennenga (Kolt), Dylan McDermott (Leroy), Rhys Wakefield (David), Justin Kirk (Billy, patient), Sam Lerner (Avi), Mason Welch (Dusty), Emanuele Secci (Marcello); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jonathan Schwartz/Andrea Sperling/Alicia Van Couvering; Magnolia Pictures; 2012)
“It’s soap opera with a Hollywood tan.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director Ry Russo-Young(“Orphans”/”You Won’t Miss Me”) co-writes this Hollywood location soap opera with mumblecore writer Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”). The script was developed at the Sundance Institute. Casual sex is the subject that pervades a story about living the good life in LA.
Inexperienced and insecure 23-year-old experimental filmmaker Martine (Olivia Thirlby) flies from her hometown in Brooklyn to be a house-guest in the Los Angeles wealthy home of sound engineer maven Peter (John Krasinski) and his perceptive therapist wife Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt), as Peter as a favor helps the alluring visitor with the sound effects for her short gallery art-house film. The sexpot Martine, who thrives on casual sex without realizing there are sometimes consequences, is a New York friend of Julie’s friend and never met the couple or their aspiring poet 16-year-old daughter Kolt (India Ennenga), a child from Julie’s first marriage to hipster rocker songwriter Leroy (Dylan McDermott), or their adolescent son Dusty (Mason Welch).
At first Peter is the friendly protector of Martine, but gets carried away by her flirtations in his home studio and screws her atop a table. When his aware wife warns him to not make a fool of her, that she’s aware he has a crush on their femme fatale house-guest, the foolish hubby still persists but Martine shows an interest only in Peter’s young helper David (Rhys Wakefield), and the jealous Peter then shows his true colors and acts as a rotten jerk.
Meanwhile Julie has to deal with an obnoxious whiny egotistical screenwriter patient (Justin Kirk), who hits on her, and Kolt has to deal with the inappropriate advances of her older resentful Italian tutor (Emanuele Secci) and not being noticed by her dreamboat David because Martine is around.
We learn that the wealthy LA set never walk, never sweat and never seem satisfied. Their angst, active libidos and drive for success are examined through the eyes of the not so innocent New York seductress, who takes a long walk to nowhere when things take a bad turn. It’s soap opera with a Hollywood tan and with a good eye for detecting the moral malaise among the still restless Haves, who can easily unravel from erotic seductive threats if not vigilant. What it lacks is an edge, as it never builds to say anything we haven’t heard before.
REVIEWED ON 11/18/2012 GRADE: B-