Most of writer/director Aaron Katz’s movies I haven’t seen. The few I have weren’t that impressive. This will probably be his biggest picture to date. It’s a little LA film noir that touches a bit on our celebrity culture.
Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max, Divergent, and daughter of Lenny) plays Heather Anderson, an actress that’s so big, paparazzi wait outside of the various restaurants and clubs she frequents. She’s got an ex-boyfriend (Reeve Carney) that’s calling and making threats, and she has fans that don’t think twice of slipping into her booth and asking about her relationship, or for a quick selfie.
Heather also seems like a selfish jerk. She doesn’t care that when she pulls out of a movie, it screws over the guy that spent five years writing and producing it. In fact, she doesn’t even go into the restaurant to tell him. She lets her assistant do that while she sits outside in the car. That assistant Jill (Lola Kirke of Gone Girl, Mistress America), always seems to be there to clean up her messes or fix her a drink and provide a shoulder to cry on.
The cast has just the right look. The neon nightlife atmosphere of everything around them is perfect. I felt like it captured LA at night in a way that Nightcrawler did. Credit goes to cinematographer Andrew Reed, who’s worked on Katz’s other films.
The problems arise when a murder takes place, and it starts getting silly. Characters do things they probably wouldn’t do, and we sort of stop caring about any of them. I thought that might change once a detective (John Cho of Star Trek) shows up and starts snooping around. His tough guy talk was perfect, but I wished he had better lines. I also didn’t buy a few of the ways they had him work his way into a situation. It’s a shame because murder mysteries are fun when you actually care about them getting solved. It’s also interesting to watch how Hollywood is scrutinized on film, whether it’s agents, directors, or personal assistants; anybody remember Swimming With Sharks almost 25 years ago, where Kevin Spacey plays a Hollywood producer who’s verbally abusive to his assistant? I’m also thinking of another movie dealing with a personal assistant to someone famous — the criminally underseen Judd Apatow film Funny People (Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen).
Speaking of funny people, I felt this movie needed a bit more funny. There’s one line when Heather, being asked if she knows how to handle a gun, replies “How many movies have a shot a gun in?”
Her assistant replies, “Two.”
That’s some clever stuff right there. I wanted more of that. I would’ve also liked a bit more backstory for these characters. It would’ve helped us care about them.
I’m not sure I exactly got how it ending. It certainly wasn’t a satisfying end.
The electronic sound and drums of the soundtrack was also goofy. It gave the vibe of a cheesy 70’s film.
My wife and I were shocked that this movie was only 90 minutes long. It felt like two hours. That’s never a good sign.
2 stars out of 5.