New Suit

French-born director Francois Velle's American debut isn't simply a clever reworking of the age-old fable of the "Emperor's New Clothes," but a sharp-fanged satire of Hollywood at its most bloodthirsty. Like countless aspiring screenwriters before him, idealistic young Kevin Taylor (Jordan Bridges) arrives in Los Angeles with a script under his arm and a...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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French-born director Francois Velle's American debut isn't simply a clever reworking of the age-old fable of the "Emperor's New Clothes," but a sharp-fanged satire of Hollywood at its most bloodthirsty. Like countless aspiring screenwriters before him, idealistic young Kevin Taylor (Jordan Bridges) arrives in Los Angeles with a script under his arm and a snowball's chance in hell of selling it. Eighteen months later, he's a lowly assistant to the notoriously contentious Muster Hansau (Dan Hedaya), a once-hot producer whose foundering career can barely subsidize his taste for high-priced hookers, and Hansau's frazzled development executives, Molly (Heather Donahue) and Smokey (Mark Setlock). Kevin's ex-girlfriend, Marianne Roxbury (Marisa Coughlan), once a junior trainee with the high-powered United Management Agency, is now a fiercely competitive junior shark, circling UMA's fetid waters in search of the big break that will make her career. Disillusioned by his bosses' desperation and irritated by the careerist bluster of the studio's other assistants, Kevin impulsively plots a little prank that quickly gets out of hand. One afternoon at the commissary, he lets it drop that he's just seen "New Suit," a spec script by the hot young screenwriter Jordan Strawberry, and yes, it's just as good as everyone says. Not wanting to seem out of the loop, his fellow D-boys agree — "New Suit" is a hot property — then quickly excuse themselves to chase down whatever leads they can find on a film that, unbeknownst to them, doesn't exist. By the next day, the entire town is buzzing about "New Suit." Smokey and Molly, knowing their careers hang in the balance, demand that Kevin track down a copy while Marianne, in a dangerous gambit, is claiming to be Strawberry's agent, taking meetings and brokering deals on his behalf with production company execs. Before Kevin has a chance to stop it, "New Suit" has snowballed out of his control, leaving him with two options: leave town for good or use the deception to beat the industry at its own game. Snappy and smart, the film gets surprisingly far on a fairly contrived conceit, proving that there's no energy quite like energy fueled by anger and disgust — it's easy to imagine a box of unsold scripts moldering somewhere in the back of screenwriter Craig Sherman's closet. Shot on digital video, the film is suffused with a deep, golden haze — the color, no doubt, of fading careers and tarnished dreams.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: R
  • Review: French-born director Francois Velle's American debut isn't simply a clever reworking of the age-old fable of the "Emperor's New Clothes," but a sharp-fanged satire of Hollywood at its most bloodthirsty. Like countless aspiring screenwriters before him, ide… (more)

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