Dave White
Ellie Parker Review

Dave's Rating:

2.0

… has 99 problems …

Who's in It: Naomi Watts, Scott Coffey, Rebecca Rigg, Mark Pellegrino, Chevy Chase

The Basics: A struggling actress goes from audition to audition and from identity to identity. You will go from awake to asleep.

What's the Deal: This thing has 99 problems, and here are two — a weak script full of Hollywood clichés that have been satirized and parodied and commented on so many times that it's like reminding people one more time that slavery was wrong; and mediocre performances. Even Watts looks as though she's just submitting an audition tape for Mulholland Drive.

But Wait, There's More: I hate it when a movie is shot on digital video and the press notes make a big deal out of the fact that the director got it at Best Buy with a credit card, as though it's some kind of sacrifice on par with selling plasma to get the movie made — and it's clearly done out of budgetary constraints that no one will cop to. They act like it was a stylistic choice, and they use words like "raw" and "immediate" to fake you out.

And Speaking of Mulholland Drive: This movie is, strangely, thematically just like it — the story of an insecure actress with a fractured identity, made by people who acted in another movie about the very same subject. Watts, writer-director Coffey and Pellegrino (who plays Watts' boyfriend here) were all involved in MH. Meanwhile, Ellie Parker was in the making for a very long time: Jennifer Syme, who plays a casting assistant in this movie, was David Lynch's assistant and the girlfriend of Keanu Reeves; she died in a 2001 car accident.

Other, Better Movie It References: Play It as It Lays, an early 1970s film starring Tuesday Weld as a dead-soul actress who does nothing but drive along L.A.'s freeways. Watts does exactly the same thing here.

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