What is pleasant and slight in a short film becomes tedious and insipid when stretched to feature length. Such is the fate of Ellie Parker, originally a 16-minute entry in the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Writer-director Scott Coffey and star Naomi Watts were so enamored with their material (following a day in the life of an actress struggling from one wacky audition to the next) that they kept making more short-form adventures of Ellie, eventually culminating in a portrait of a self-involved, whiny, indulgent actor in “who am I, really?” crisis mode. In this case, less is more. From the bizarre rituals of acting class where one pretends to be an animal or a tree, to the therapist’s couch where this eager starlet gets in touch with her inner child, Ellie Parker is an unintentionally miserable forced march alongside the condescending, needy vibe that struggling actors can give off. While actors, particularly those based in Los Angeles, may connect to the inside jokes, and Watts makes for a fetching screen presence, Ellie Parker ultimately feels like a tiring whirlwind of familiar sitcom episodes strung together. As Ellie breaks up with her boyfriend, girl-talks with her actress buddy (Rebecca Rigg), and shares a Jim Bean confessional with her agent (Chevy Chase), the material drudges into that porridge of fatuous indie quirkiness that has given quirk a bad name.
- Strand Releasing
- 96 min
- Scott Coffey
- Scott Coffey
- Naomi Watts, Rebecca Rigg, Scott Coffey, Mark Pelligrino, Blair Mastbaum, Chevy Chase
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