Friday, November 9, 2012

VODebut: Middle-aged moms Lisa Orkin & Paula Killen in Shira Piven's FULLY LOADED

They're single, they're sexy (well, sort of) and they're out for bear. "They" are the two authors/
actresses, Lisa Orkin and Paula Killen, who co-penned the play from which Shira Piven co-wrote and directed the screenplay of FULLY LOADED, turning it into a properly cinema-tic experience, about which, if you didn't alrea-dy know of its theatrical background, I doubt you'd be at all aware.

Ms Piven (shown at left), older sister of Jeremy (who executive-produced the film), keeps it moving fast and maybe a little too furiously, as there are times we might like a breather. But better quick than dead, as can some-times happen to small films, the premise of which can easily deflate upon too close a look. The premise here has Paula and Lisa (the authors/actresses use their own names) as two single moms out for a night of fun and men. Or fun with men. Or fun at the expense of men. (Not to worry, most of the men on view seem neither noteworthy nor particularly heroic.)

Before you accuse the filmmakers of male-bashing, let it be said that these gals are not exactly the classiest of broads, either. Paula (above), though the more attractive of the two, seems to get herself into some very odd scrapes, while plain-Jane Lisa (below), though less inclined to craziness, fares no better.

Some of the women's repartee is quite amusing -- in particular, a Laura Ashley tale and an reminiscence about an aunt who was good at giving advice-for-life (below). All this may remind those of a certain age of the John Ford Noonan play (and its subsequent film) A Couple of White Chicks Sitting Around Talking. Here, they're sitting around driving (the movie is set in Los Angeles, so what did you expect?), chatting, reminiscing, making out with various men and (via surrogates) women -- and smoking, even though one of our two gals appears to have cancer (a subject that raises its head and is then summarily dropped).

The men -- take your pick from the crew below -- are varied, all right, but they exist mostly as tools to score points. The musical soundtrack that accompanies all of this is terrific; it'll take you back a ways. There are flashbacks, flash forwards, and flash-never-weres or maybe never will-bes, too. The purpose of it all, I am guessing, is to create two fairly indelible characters via these women, and to some extent, this works. They're fully loaded all right (and so's the movie) on alcohol, drugs, middle-age panic and much else.

The gals discuss sex problems and do a little role-playing to surmount these problems, and then, in the film's funniest, most suspenseful sequence, they think they're being followed by a car full of guys (below) and so try to give them the slip. Eventually, though, the films builds up a degree of sadness, if not outright annoyance, for these two women. "Grow the fuck up," you want to tell them. "And be grateful your lives were not made up entirely of picking rice in some paddy in China."

That may be the point. At least I hope we're not supposed to see these two as any kind of major heroines. They're good for some laughs, and a little serious thought. But, hell, to paraphrase what someone once said at the end of a better movie, "Forget it, Jake. It's Los Angeles."  Stick around until the end credits are nearly finished for a final laugh, as that advice-offering auntie gives additional meaning to the movie's title.

Fully Loaded, from Starz Digital Media, opens via VOD and Online this coming Tuesday, November 13. You can find it at the usual location, or click here to see exactly where it's available.

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