Mar 132005

Full Frontal (2002)A day in the life of a group of men and women in Hollywood, in the hours leading up to a friend’s birthday party.

Directed by
Steven Soderbergh

Comedy, Drama, Romance

David Duchovny, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Brian Krow, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, Enrico Colantoni, Erika Alexander, Tracy Vilar, Brandon Keener, Jeff Garlin, David Alan Basche, Nancy Lenehan

By turns revelatory, sloppy, brilliant and pointless, Soderbergh intertwines the daily lives of Hollywood professionals, with the ostensible aim to skewer them. But even though “Full Frontal” is just a reflexive Hollywood satire, those multi-levels grabbed me, and I was fully interested in what was going on the entire time. If you enjoy the weirdness of movies you may very well enjoy this. But I can’t really recommend it, since nearly every review has been scathing, and since it often adds up to little more than surface experimentation. The strangeness — like a character’s neighbor who dresses up like Dracula for no apparent reason — doesn’t have any deep meaning or reason for being. (Unless, of course, it’s supposed to represent some Hollywood executive.) But the acting here is all so uninhibited that I was consistently fascinated. And sometimes — like with Julia Roberts playing a sly, sensual interviewer character in a film-within-a-film (within-a-film) or Catherine Keener (in a knockout performance) inexplicably torturing her employees with goofy questions about their private life and the countries in Africa — Soderbergh’s “no rules” approach gets some really great results.

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