For their directing debuts, Jennifer Jason Leigh and her Cabaret co-star Alan Cumming wrote a script about a subject close to their hearts actors and the world of acting. The result is an intermittently entertaining evening spent in the luxe L.A. canyon home of British novelist Joe Therrian (Alan Cumming), who's about to try his hand at directing, and his wife, actor's actress Sally Nash (Leigh), known for her raw performances (sound familiar?). Joe and Sally have reunited after a year-long separation, and to help celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary they're throwing a party for a few of their closest friends: former actress Sophia Gold (Phoebe Cates), Sally's best friend, and her husband, Cal (Kevin Kline, Cates's real-life spouse), an Academy Award-winning actor who also happens to be Sally's latest co-star; Mac Forsythe (John C. Reilly), Sally's director, who's begun to have doubts about his latest film and his leading lady; and Mac's high-strung wife, Clair (Jane Adams), an actress who's unraveling under the stress of trying to juggle career and motherhood. Joe and Sally have also thrown some outsiders into the cozy mix, including the Roses (Mina Badie and Denis O'Hare), aka "the neighbors from Hell," whom Sally and Joe have invited only to help stem a lawsuit over their barking dog, and 27-year-old ingenue Skye Davidson (Gwyneth Paltrow), who's been through rehab at least once and has already begun to lie about her age. To his wife's chagrin, Joe has just cast Skye in a part that's obviously based on Sally and should rightly go to her if Sally were only 10 years younger. After a round of toasts, a few faux pas and far too many performing children, Skye breaks out the party favors sixteen hits of Ecstasy and all hell breaks loose. Sally and Joe's guests wear their character quirks like name tags, and unnecessary ones at that: We've met most of them before in other movies. Leigh and Cumming scripted with an actor's sense of what goes into a juicy scene, but edited with an actor's reluctance to leave anything out. So it's a good thing that Cummings and Leigh have such talented friends: They may overstay their welcome, but it's the entertaining guests who end up saving this poorly planned party.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: For their directing debuts, Jennifer Jason Leigh and her Cabaret co-star Alan Cumming wrote a script about a subject close to their hearts actors and the world of acting. The result is an intermittently entertaining evening spent in the luxe L.A. ca… (more)