The Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich”) was able to get a fully loaded cast together for his latest picture “Full Frontal” and besides Catherine Keener, they have all fallen just slightly shy of what an avid fan would expect.
Sharing a ‘throne’ with Parker Posey (“Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show”), Catherine Keener and Posey reign as the independent film queens. Lately Keener has been breaking out of her usual role and making a run at Hollywood mogul status.
This film is again going to put her ahead in that race seeing as she out-shines David Hyde Pierce (TV’s Frasier), Enrico Colantoni, David Duchovny, Blair Underwood, Nicky Katt the high profile, over-priced veteran, Julia Roberts. So how is it that she was the one to watch although the film is basically a ‘reality show?’
There is a presence about her, and that seems like a clich/d term, but that is all I have to describe it. Emerging from very low-profiled films she came up into slightly high profiled films such as “Your Friends and Neighbors” and “Being John Malkovich.” Her latest roles have included “Death to Smoochy” with Edward Norton and Robin Williams and “The Good Girl” with Jennifer Aniston.
“Full Frontal” is the full frontal view of the under-belly of Hollywood life. We follow around different people associated with those in Hollywood power and watch how seemingly disconnected they find themselves from the ‘real life,’ yet we notice how very connected they all are, not only with each other, but with ‘real life.’
There is a movie within this movie, one titled ‘Rendezvous,’ which stars Francesca (Julia Roberts) and Calvin (Blair Underwood). Soderbergh splices the two films by shooting ‘real life’ (“Full Frontal”) on video, giving it a much softer appearance, and then shooting ‘Rendezvous’ on 35mm. As all their problems plague each individual, the final problem attacks them all.
I cannot remember the last time I have been so conflicted over what to think of a film. The acting was very good, the script was well written and I have never been disappointed with Steven Soderbergh’s films. The problem is, I never found myself really caring for anyone in the film and my emotions were never elevated to that level a good movie should take them.
So, technically, this was a perfect piece of strict filmmaking, which should ultimately improve the final grade. But as far as entertainment value, it is lacking significantly. So what grade do you give a film like this? Do I balance it out? Give it a C- for entertainment value and an A for technical excellence? I think so. So it isn’t a perfect balance of the two, but this gets a C+. Go see it, and let me know… Erniehem2@hotmail.com.