Not Since Casanova | Chicago Reader

Not Since Casanova

A spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to weld Hollywood slickness onto the regionalist sensibility of its American Film Institute backing, this embarrassing work hasn't an original thought to speak of. Writer-director Brett Thompson has appropriated plot movements and visual motifs straight out of The Seventh Seal, Hannah and Her Sisters, Annie Hall, 9<4 Weeks, All That Jazz, and the combined efforts of Jonathan Demme and John Waters that signify neither satire nor hommage. This isn't moviemaking, this is xeroxing. What there is for narrative is a brazenly simplistic and innocuous tale of a callow young man named Prepski Morris (!), a nasal-voiced postadolescent whose dopey eyelids and blank expressions nevertheless make him irresistible to the full complement of antifeminists, hippies, spinsters, and aerobics instructors. The acting is sub-high school; execution is flaccid. With his crude juxtapositions of phallic imagery, disingenuous sexual politics, and outrageously overreaching “profundity” (Thompson compares his protagonist to Homer's Odysseus), the film comes off as a primitive, obsolete, and boring exercise of over-the-top narcissism. The women are stick figures, shorn of taste or judgment, skill or intellectual valor; you'd be hard pressed to find another such ugly, corrosive portrait in this or any other year. What Variety called “a film school filigree” struck me as outright plagiarism, only Thompson lacks even the most perfunctory skills needed to do these more talented directors justice.

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