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New Suit
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Not new, but re-vamped, re-styled."
4 stars

Brisk-paced, low-key Hollywood satire about a hopeful screenwriter whose relocation to the City of Production begins to taint his perception of the world of film and filmmaking.

With loose ties to the fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the burned-out writer fabricates a non-existent script and author that snowballs via word-of-mouth into the town’s hot ticket; problem is, he only meant it as a joke to his superficial friends, and now everyone from his gold-digging ex-girlfriend to his hack-producer boss at a rinky-dink studio are falling all over themselves to get a copy of this imaginary product. One stance that director François Velle takes from the beginning is to convince you that the protagonist writer is a moral guy, if not overly naďve, and that his intended joke was not meant to create a monster, but to prove the superficiality of his friends. That he is responsible for the after-effects, or at least claims responsibility and attempts on his own (certainly without the help of anyone else) to quash and disabuse the prospects of his joke as it is passed along the grapevine, shows something not too common in movies about Hollywood: having a conscience. The trend continues as New Suit’s own plot escalates, and Velle is still able to poke fun and have a good time — predominantly at the expense of such wannabes — while maintaining the writer’s upstanding dedication to not simply cashing in (despite a curveball or two along the way). Perhaps one of the reasons this finely-tuned comedy works is because it is on such a small scale, dealing with the small people, and using no less, small people to do it. (The biggest names attached to the project are Dan Hedaya, Marisa Coughlan, and Blair Witch’s Heather Donahue, who really works in her role, at least to my surprise.) Ultimately, it lacks the automatic and overly self-reflexive pretension that a larger-scale industry comedy would undoubtedly bring. With Jordan Bridges, Mark Setlock, and Paul McCrane.


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originally posted: 12/24/03 11:44:57
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  02-May-2003 (R)



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