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Room 314
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by EricDSnider

"A nice little actor's workshop, but not fit for public consumption."
3 stars

If "Room 314" were a student film, which is what it feels like, it would get high marks for its technical proficiency and general competence. But since it is not the work of a degree-seeking college student, but rather a theatrical film that people are being asked to pay money to see, things like that don't count as much. It's the movie's generic dialogue and weak acting that stand as its most noticeable attributes, and the main reasons not to bother seeing it.

The film comprises five unrelated vignettes that are all set in the same hotel room. Shot documentary-style with hand-held cameras, it makes us the fly on the wall, eavesdropping on the private lives of five pairs of men and women.

First up are Nick (Matthew Del Negro) and Stacey (Joelle Carter), a man about to be married and the woman he hooked up with at his bachelor party. Next is Harry (Michael Laurence), bedraggled and suicidal, and his wife, Gretchen (Sarah Jenkins), come to investigate his recent suspicious behavior. Then: a go-getting, womanizing salesman named Jack (Michael Knowles, also the film's writer and director) and Kathy (Robyn Myhr), the coworker he is in the process of seducing. Fourth are Matt (Todd Swenson) and Tracey (Monique Vukovic), whose relationship is not explained, but I think maybe she's a hooker. And finally it's David (Michael Mosley) and Caly (Jennifer Marlowe), friends and former lovers who are in town for a wedding.

Most of these people are interesting only in the sense that we don't know who they are and we're initially curious to find out. Once their situations are laid out, there's little to hold our attention, as what we find is mostly standard relationship drama, with dialogue like this:

GRETCHEN: I demand an explanation!
HARRY: You can demand all you want, but that doesn't mean I'm going to tell you, now does it?!

Can't you just see the high-school drama kids practicing the scene to get the intensity of this very unimaginative melodrama just right?

Michael Mosley and Matthew Del Negro's performances are the standouts, while most of the women suffer from the script's negligence of them. The film is an actor's showcase, yet the actors aren't given a lot to work with. If the scenes were deeper, more engaging, or more original, these 10 performers would have at least had something good to show casting agents at their next auditions.

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originally posted: 06/25/07 15:10:35
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  15-Apr-2007 (NR)
  DVD: 22-Jul-2008



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