Viewer Beware

Remember kids: always check Rotten Tomatoes before plunking down your perfectly good money for a movie. It was ignoring this advice which led me to see Full Frontal this evening. I at least enjoyed it more than the person I saw it with, but both of us left the theater shaking our heads. It was a self-aware film about film making, and tried to be all cute and clever about being not just about film making but also about making films about film making, and so on. It’s all very meta. With the tag line “Everybody needs a release” on the posters, I suppose the quest for meaningful relationships, and the randomness of finding “The One”, even for a while, also runs through the movie as a major theme, but it wasn’t treated particularly interestingly. I’m sorry, but it’s not “modern” or “edgy” to throw an internet-based romance into your story anymore. I still can’t figure out what the point of the Hilter-monologue play was, except as a model of how bizarre actors and directors can become. The bad film quality was as annoying as most reviewers thought. I understand why it was done, but the quality was so bad, I sometimes couldn’t tell which character was on screen.
As a single positive, David Hyde Pierce did an amazing job and was the only interesting character in the movie, no thanks to the script. He actually acted, and left all of the meta layers of meaning alone. He has one scene where he’s on the phone with the vet because he’s afraid his dog is dying, and it was utterly realistic and touching. He even managed to pull off a somewhat overly symbolic scene in which he goes to get himself a beer after having been fired – his boss having asked him whether he drinks his beer out of the bottle or a glass, and then telling him the company is looking for bottle-drinkers. It’s a contrived set-up, but he doesn’t over-act the moment when he has to decide if he’ll pour this beer into a glass as well. I wanted to know more about this guy, and the rest of the characters were just a distraction. Unfortunately, most of the movie was about the other characters, so I really can’t recommend bothering to go see this mess.
My clever friend (who should say hi in the comments if they’d like to be publically credited) was observant enough to spot a small note of interest to X-Files fans, though. Remember in Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose where Scully and Mulder use a psychic (Clyde) who can see how people are going to die to solve a case? And the following bit of dialogue takes place:

Clyde: “You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can’t think of a more undignified one that autoerotic asphyxiation.”
Mulder: “Why are you telling me that?
Clyde: “Forget I mentioned it. It’s none of my business.”

Well, let’s just say that the character played by David Duchovney dies a very undignified death in this movie. That just can’t be a coincidence….

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