Thursday, March 24, 2011

PEEP WORLD: patriarch's 70th b'day party sparks the Blaustein-Himmelstein non-com

How's this for a nifty premise: the birthday party celebration of a 70-year-old uber-success Henry Meyerwitz, with his very lesser children and their mates in attendance, including the youngest and most successful of the kids, who has recently written a best-seller about his family that exposes all their secrets. Sounds like yummy fun, right? But what's the "non-com" mentioned in the headline above? That's TrustMovies' term for a comedy that isn't very funny -- except in the most obvious, been-there/done-that-so-many-times manner. And PEEP WORLD, the new film written by Peter Himmelstein and directed by Barry W. Blaustein (shown below) -- which would seem to have all the ingredients of, at the very least, an old-fashioned campy romp -- fills the non-com bill to a tee.

This is too bad because the movie boasts a very game cast to act out its "fun" premise. But it appears that director Blaustein (at left) and writer Himmelstein simply felt that handing us (and their poor actors) the situation itself would be enough to keep us cackling. They've left out any style, wit, visual panache or enough clever dialog that might have engaged us. What's left is the most obvious stuff, and though you begin the movie with high hopes, after awhile all that thudding wears you down. (Gosh, another movie that features a guy who, having taken a sexually enhancing drug, discovers that his dick won't go down. We haven't seen anything that original and hilarious since... Love And Other Drugs!)

Trapped in this sodden swamp of what-might-have-been is such a good cast that my heart goes out to each of them. The patriarch is played by Ron Rifkin, who certainly knows his way around funny. Taking the role of his kids are Michael C. Hall (above: center, left), Rainn Wilson (above, right), Sarah Silverman (shown below and quite wasted in this role), and Ben Schwartz (above, left). The matriarch (and ex, of course) is played by Leslie Ann Warren (above, center), with another raft of fine performers in the significant-other roles: Judy Greer, Taraji P. Henson, Alicia Witt (above, center right) and  Kate Mara. Even the old-reliable Stephen Tobolowsky shows up here (he's above, behind Ms Witt).

Having played VOD for over a month already, the movie -- via IFC Films -- makes its theatrical debut this Friday, March 25, here in New York at the IFC Center.  Its On-Demand presentation ends soon, however; according to its page on the the IFC website, there are now four days left in which to view in that format.  Your move.

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