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Entropy Reviews

A music video director makes the leap to feature filmmaking, only to find his entire life spinning out of control in Phil Joanou's snarky, in-joke laden comedy drama. As it opens, Jake Walsh (Steven Dorff) has lost control of his movie, started drinking and smoking like a Bowery bum, and married a woman he hardly knows. How did things come to this sorry pass? Well, says the underwear-clad Jake, speaking directly to the camera, it happened like this. After directing several well-received videos for U2 (Bono and The Edge appear as themselves), Jake is offered the chance to direct a period noir thriller by the sinister Chairman (Hector ElizondO). His stars will be husband and wife celebrities Kevin (Jon Terry) and Claire (Lauren Holly). Jake heads to New York for pre-production, meets Stella (Judith Godreche), a French model who sweeps him off his feet, and runs afoul of sleazy New York producers Sal and Andy (Frank Vincent, Paul Guilfoyle). They insist that Jake get Claire to appear topless, despite her contract's no-nudity clause. Claire demands an extra million for the nude scenes, which comes out of the movie's budget, which requires that the shooting schedule be shortened. Meanwhile, Stella gets pregnant, precipitating a relationship crisis. Next thing Jake knows, Stella has decamped for Paris and he's been thrown off his own movie. What can a poor boy to do but go hang with a rock 'n' roll band? There's something off-puttingly self-congratulatory about this cautionary farce, which styles itself as an edgy fable about the perils of life in the fast lane but comes off like one of those name-dropping monologues you overhear in so-hip-it-hurts restaurants. Perhaps it helps not to recall Joanou's U2: Rattle and Hum, a feature length music video chronicle of the band's Joshua Tree tour, or the fact that his mainstream career stalled on arty thrillers like STATE OF GRACE, FINAL ANALYSIS and HEAVEN'S PRISONERS. The back story gives a whiff of smug autobiography to ENTROPY's contrivances that makes them seem petty and faintly show-offy — Oh, my hectic, glamorous problems! On the plus side: A talking cat (though it can't touch GO's similar scene) and Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald as Pia, the girl Jake weds and divorces in less than a week. MacDonald is a fizzy shot in the arm, funny, forthright and utterly engaging — the film could have used more of her and less of Jake.