Fully Loaded, the 2011 movie directed by Shira Piven (below), will probably be ready for Ms Piven's next narrative step (she's made a couple of documentaries in between): the not-easily-classifiable WELCOME TO ME. Starring Kristen Wiig in what may be her most memorable -- if not popular -- role, the movie boasts a number of other first-class performers doing some excellent work in a film that takes a look at our narcissistic, self-obsessed-as-never-before society from the vantage point of one of its crazier members.
What Alice does with this windfall constitutes the movie's plot, introduces a raft of new characters, and sets us and Alice on a journey that explores everything from television and talk shows to friendship, self-obsession and medication, while showing us what and who we can buy -- if we have enough money.
The Voices -- will certainly encourage viewers who are borderline, or who have friends/relatives in this sad state, to take their meds. Beyond this, what is the film trying to accomplish? Well, it takes our current state of women's "Oprah worship" -- narcissism pretending to be other-centered -- to its logical conclusion. It also seems to want to show us how, even among borderline personalities, there's a lid for every pot. (Wes Bentley, above, plays -- quite well, too -- Alice's lid.) I have to admit that the screenplay by Eliot Laurence (The Big Gay Sketch Show), while appearing to want to have things every which way, certainly does not cater to the expected.
James Marsden (above, right) as the grasping television producer who'll do just about anything for money -- and the near-hypnotic pull of the narrative (the bizarre incidents really do keep you glued). Piven and Laurence may have bitten off more than they can properly chew but they've nonetheless given us viewers a kind of fractured feast that is worth trying to digest.
Alchemy and running 105 minutes -- opens tomorrow, Friday, May 1, in New York City at the Angelika Film Center and in the L.A. area at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas.