Some 13 years after sex, lies and videotape, Steven Soderbergh delivers Frull Frontal, an inscrutable experiment too fixated with its own self-reflexivity to ever be about anything in particular. Over the course of one whole day and one dismal morning, Soderbergh’s meta Short Cuts follows a dozen or so neurotic Hollywood types around town. They’re all more or less connected to the mysterious Gus (David Duchovny), a pervert producer whose current project, Rendevouz, features its own film-within-a-film. Movie gods Francesca (Julia Roberts) and Calvin (Blair Underwood) are the film’s stars. Psychotic power-bitch Lee (Catherine Keener) fucks Calvin but doesn’t seem to want him any more than she does her even more psychotic writer husband, Carl (David Hyde Pierce). Lee’s sister Linda (Mary McCormack) cyber-romances stage director Ed (Enrico Colantoni), whose play The Sound and the Führer features an appropriately egomaniacal brat (Nicky Katt) in the role of Hitler. The film’s most audacious moment comes from the Rendevouz “reality” and features Jeff Garlin as Miramax’s own führer, Harvey Weinstein. Soderbergh contrasts the modest relationship between Calvin and Francesca’s characters within the Rendevouz reality with a fascinatingly obscured fuck-me-fuck-you sequence between Calvin and Lee that you usually only get to “see” in films by Mike Figgis. It helps to remember that Roberts played PR manager to a pre-Oscar Denzel Washington when approaching these racially charged bits. Otherwise, there’s no real entrance into this unshapely contraption though Soderbergh (at least before shattering even the film’s DV reality) wants to separate the “real” from the “fake” with varying film stocks. Just as the film demands its own set of Cliffs Notes, Soderbergh spells out his thesis (“This shit is cyclical!” and “Reality is all marketplace shit!”) for those already confounded by his pointless claptrap.
- Miramax Films
- 111 min
- Steven Soderbergh
- Coleman Hough
- Blair Underwood, Julia Roberts, David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener, Mary McCormack, Erika Alexander, Rainn Wilson, David Duchovny
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