Splendor - B
Viewed December 7, 1999 at the Chateau

Silly and likable, Gregg Araki's latest film is supposed to be a homage to the screwball comedies of the Thirties, but it feels more like an extended riff on sitcoms. It's also, given the situation (a menage of trois) and the director, surprisingly tame: apart from a normal level of four-letter language, there's nothing here that wouldn't pass muster for a TV-14 rating and the love "triangle" is more of a love caret. Like Nowhere, the production design is bright and candy-coated, but this time there's no darker undercurrents operating underneath. Thanks to an appealing turn from Kathleen Robertson[1] and fine comic timing from Matt Keeslar and Jonathan Schaech as her two lovers, it's consistently entertaining. Good shoegazing-glazed soundtrack, as well.

Now for some quick dismissals of recent video viewing of films that don't merit more than a sentence: I enjoyed watching The Thirteenth Floor [B-] unfold, but it's forgettable; everything is subsumed to a uninspired if well-executed mindfuck plot in a film that lacks the style of The Matrix and Dark City or the wit of The Truman Show. As for Entrapment [C], if you need to ogle a film about millionaire playboy thieves and the insurance agent women who love them, the recent remake of The Thomas Crown Affair had more enjoyable set pieces and better acting. A spirited performance from John Cleese as Basil Fawlty is the major reason why I kept watching The Out of Towners [C], a tired remake of a Neil Simon farce that must have seemed hoary even back in the early Seventies.

[1]Usually I cringe when I see an actor whose major credentials include 90210 or Melrose Place, but Robertson turns out to be a fine light comic actress. Or maybe it's just Araki: he seems to do well with talent recruited from Spelling.