Reviewed By Katharine Leis
Posted 03/19/07 10:47:07

"A smart and fun dark comedy for the times"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

10 people, five cars, one park. Darkly comedic vignettes in close proximity that develop on their own and by overlapping with others. Four were good, but one shone out.

Park opens with April (Dagney Kerr), driving her terrible little old car into a desolate area of a large LA park. Visibly upset, she pours out half of her coffee, refills it with liquor, puts a gun part way into her mouth, but hesitates on pulling the trigger.
Enter the next car, nerdy Ian and bombshell Krysta in their mobile dog grooming van. They pass April, and go on to a nearby spot where they park. Krysta begins applying makeup and changing into a french maid’s outfit. Ian has a crush on Krysta, and is leading up in conversation about revealing this crush to her.
Just then April knocks at the window of the grooming truck and asks for some lubricant. Apparently, guns were not meant to fit in womens’ mouths.
A white “Neotech” van then passes by, with two young male and two young female employees inside. On their lunch break, the two women decided to go with the men who have been secretive about their lunch plans for some time. Speculation about their plans and intentions leads to many a heated debate throughout the film.
Back to the dog grooming van, Krysta informs Ian that she has no interest in dating a dog groomer. Just as she does, a huge SUV with all the bells and whistles pulls up, driven by Dennis (Billy Baldwin), a married 40-something she’s been carrying on with for a few months.
Shielded from view a ways away look on Dennis’s wife Peggy (Ricki Lake) and her loyal best friend Claire (Cheri Oteri), spying on what they’ll soon find out is an actual full blown affair.
April returns to the dog grooming van for more suicide-enabling supplies, and each time Ian is helpful and retrieves what she needs. He then figures out what she’s up to and decides that he, too, would like to end his life.
Each of these stories could be their own separate short films. Each are of the theme of reflecting on one’s own life, changing what can be changed that is not working, and accepting realities of things that failed. Move on or die, essentially. Well done is the uniqueness of each of the characters to show this theme. Despite differences in age, gender, gender preference, social class, or education, each character is surprised or even shocked to find out what other peopleperceive as their faults or shortcomings. A great insight into behavior and into people in general must have been used to create such specific thoughts.
There are some things that have been done before, both better and worse, but the one story that could have been a feature film all it’s own was the one of April and Ian. In this new trend of misfit love occurring in films, those two could have stood out as a modern day Romeo and Juliet. Though the Neotech van story was well shaped and there was a point to it, it could have also been fine as a stand alone short movie, allowing more time for Ian and April’s story to fluorish. Dagney Kerr (April) was outstanding and her portrayal of the tragic hero could easily span a TV series or feature film alone. She’s a real star…a beautiful Beetle Bailey in a baby doll tee.
Ricki Lake also reminds us of her powerful acting chops. She’s never looked better on film, and her protrayal of the anguished, regretful, scorned wife is done well but never overdone. Excellent casting choice and this role will definitely lead to more for Lake.

Overall, Park was smart, well thought out and well done. All ends were tied by the closing of the film. Tragedy turned to comedy and comedy to tragedy. With as many ideas as were present in this film, I’ll bet writer director Voelker has many more up his sleeve and we’ll be seeing much more of him in the future.

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