Friday, February 22, 2013

The House of Yes: Terrible, Not Boring Feb 11, 2007 12:43AM PST

When I read "dark comedy" on the back of this movie's box I pretty much knew what to expect: terrible people doing terrible things because y'know, regular ol' comedy just isn't sad or pretentious enough.

The characters include a mother('Ms. Pascal', Genevieve Bujold), a crazy woman who thinks she's Jackie Kennedy('Jackie-O Pascal', Parker Posy), the crazy woman's two brothers, one who is engaged to another woman but had sex with his crazy sister('Marty Pascal', Josh Hamilton), one who has a tumor and wants to lose his virginity before he dies('Anthony Pascal', Freddie Prince Jr.), and the woman engaged to the brother that had sex with his sister('Lesly', Tori Spelling).

If you thought those descriptions were awful, wait until you hear the storyline: Marty Pascal comes back home to his family to announce his engagement to Lesly. His sister, fresh out of the hospital and still lusting after her brother is not happy with the new arrival, and the crazy pills she takes don't seem to be working. Anthony eventually finds out about his siblings' sex secret, and Lesly sees it for herself: the sister has once again seduced her brother into roleplaying the Kennedy assasination as Jackie and John F. Kennedy as foreplay for intercourse. Anthony tells Lesly he is going to die and wants to have sex before that happens, so they do. Apparently, he's not as good as Marty in bed.

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The whole movie is based on a play, and that fact is made painfully obvious by the characters' overannunciation and emphasis on every line. Usually I like movies for their ability to let the characters whisper to each other like normal human beings, but characters here are as loud and fake as any play and without the excuse they had to let the guy in the back row hear them.

The lines themselves, when the characters aren't talking about the terrible things they do or want to do, are menial conversation pieces like the following: (while Jackie-O and Marty play piano together)"I'm wise. I just woke up like that one day." "One day I woke up stupid". "Really, what did you do?" "Why I went back to sleep of course" [cue hearty laughter].

The writing in this film makes the age old assumption that anything completely pointless can be worded and said by some rich person to make it seem enigmatic and meaningful. The other common entertainment assumption made is that fucked up rich people are always interesting. While the dialogue still falls flat because of how redundant it truly is, the movie's use of fucked up rich people actually manages to keep it interesting.

This is an awful film filled with awful people that do awful things. It's not even so-bad-it's-good awful because it's just plain bad. But it still keeps your interest in a watching a trainwreck type of way. The difference is you feel a much greater sense of shame watching this than if you were to watch thousands of people die in front of you.

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