By Simon Abrams
Inserts, writer/director John Byrum's pitch-black comedy and minor historical flop, is perhaps a little too mischievous and cunning for its own good. Its inevitable failure is naively credited with being the straw that broke the camel's back for major Hollywood studios interested in making X-rated pictures, as if there needed to be just one more and this was it. Who would've thought that that would happen, what with studio executives putting their expectations on a work this blisteringly bitter.
The most telling sign of why Byrum's ode to pantomime failed is that he does a little too much of a good job keeping us guessing whether what we're looking at is supposed to be funny or Dramatic. If you took the dramatic template of Sunset Boulevard and overlaid it with the cynicism of In a Lonely Place and liberally added the withering grotesque physical comedy of All That Jazz, you'd have something like Inserts.
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