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Thread: Full Frontal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Full Frontal

    While Coleman Hough’s screenplay may be too cutesy and tricky for its own good, Steven Soderbergh’s arty Dogma 95-style experiment finds its pleasures in the freewheeling, improvised ensemble acting he encourages to shape what would initially appear to be a formless mess about a day in the interconnected lives of people both within and on the fringes of the L.A. film community. The performances themselves range from the mildly interesting (Blain Underwood and Julia Roberts) to the decent (David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener) to the very good (Mary McCormack and Nikky Katt, very funny as a modern-day Hitler in the stage play “The Sound And The Fuhrer”) but everyone gets credit for taking part with a relaxed, happy-to-be-there manner. After a couple of minor crowd-pleasers in “Traffic” and “Ocean’s Eleven” that found him to be working perhaps a bit too familiarly within the studio system (“Erin Brockovich” and “The Limey” displayed the ability to actually get something personal done inside that system), Soderbergh seems intent on going to a non-conformist extreme using studio money (the film is a Miramax release with Jeff Garlin of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” playing “Harvey, Probably”, a direct reference to Miramax head honcho Harvey Weinstein) and while he doesn’t quite get there—it’s a mannered and self-conscious piece, a bit afraid of the freedom provided it—there’s enough serious intent to make it a worthwhile effort.

  2. #2

    Full Frontal

    It may have been completely self-referential and self-aggrandizing, but what film isn't? Godard is hailed as a genius when he does this; Soderbergh is vilified for not making "Out of Sight 2"... It's frustrating to see an American auteur (god I hate that word) taken to task for doing what film lovers want everyone to do: make personal films unlike anything anyone else could have made.

    No, Full Frontal wasn't perfect, but I'll take an imperfect yet unique story any day over recycled Hollywood formula. (And yes, there was a formula to Full Frontal, too, but at least it handled a few rarely discussed topics and provided a few uncomfortable laughs in the process.)


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