Using a quasi-documentary style that often manipulates the truth to its own ends, RHINOSKIN follows the true-life travails of aspiring actor/co-director Tod DePree. As he searches for his first movie role, his path is strewn with frustrations, humorous episodes, and encounters with typical
Beginning with the grim info that a huge percentage of actors are unemployed, we meet Tod DePree, who recently moved to California in search of acting success. Of course, the first setback is the Catch 22 of getting into the Screen Actors' Guild--you need to be in a movie in order to become a
member, but it's difficult to get into a movie unless you're already in SAG. The crew then dogs DePree on his day-to-day routine, including visits to his agent, plus commentary from dime-a-dozen acting teachers, a cosmetic surgeon, and a high-colonic therapist ("a clean colon certainly helps an
actor"). Each talks about their line of work, and offers (often-conflicting) insight on how to succeed in this cutthroat profession. While Tod spends Christmas alone, the crew returns to his home town of Holland, Michigan, to interview family and acquaintances--with some optimistic about DePree's
future, others decidedly less so.
One grueling audition has DePree running late, and finally getting lost, while pursuing the chance to nab a role in a 20-minute, nonpaying short. Even worse, his day job has him standing on the sidewalk, dressed in a chicken costume. Meanwhile, his landlord plans to evict him because of past-due
rent. After DePree wins a one-line role on "Doogie Howser, M.D.," he admits to more confidence, as well as a long-sought membership to the Screen Actors Guild.
Speaking about the constant rejections that are a part of movie acting, an agent interviewed in the film proclaims, "You need rhinoskin in order to survive in Hollywood." Given his on-screen tribulations, DePree is one of the more likable, self-effacing examples of his profession. In fact, the
funniest moments involve a former Miss USA, Kelli McCarty, whom DePree met in acting class, and is trying to date. But each time the crew tracks her down, she says she doesn't remember him. Yet there are occasional moments of honesty, such as when the perpetually-discouraged Tod tells them, "If
you want to follow someone else, I'll totally understand."
The filmmakers display their guerrilla sensibility in an interesting scene set in a producer's office--the crew is informed by a producer's secretary that the production is being shut down, after which they roam the hallways of the building with their camera turned proudly on. The seedier side of
Hollywood is also a central focus of RHINOSKIN, from self-proclaimed acting "teachers" to every leech who earns a living off wide-eyed actors like DePree. Still, the film maintains a light touch and moves with its own fitful, eccentric rhythms. Deftly edited, RHINOSKIN offers an amusing, always
realistic view of the bottom rungs of the show-biz ladder. (Profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Using a quasi-documentary style that often manipulates the truth to its own ends, RHINOSKIN follows the true-life travails of aspiring actor/co-director Tod DePree. As he searches for his first movie role, his path is strewn with frustrations, humorous epi… (more)