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Total Crap: 15.79%

4 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Full Frontal (2002)
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by Chris Parry

"I'm sure Soderbergh had a lot more fun making it than I had watching it."
2 stars

Far be it for me to put shit on a filmmaker trying to do something a little different. I've always said that I'll give more credit to a film that tries to do something original but fails than a film that tries nothing original and succeeds, so to that end, Full Frontal has worth. But how much worth, as a piece of cinema that people should pay twelve bucks to see? Answer: Sadly, not a whole lot.

See, here's the thing. Soderbergh is the new Coppola, in that he can get any actor to do anything. If he says, "Julia, bark like a dog," then Julia Roberts will get down on all fours, make with the yip-yaps, and probably lift her leg against the nearest hydrant. If he says, "Brad, have sex with Rosie O'Donnell," you can bet your bottom dollar that Senor Pitt is going to be buying Rosie a dozen roses, giving her oral pleasure for two hours and then leaving his number in the morning.

Try getting THAT vision out of your head.

So the point here is that Soderbergh, who IS a great director and generally puts together quality cinema, is seeing how far he can push people now. When he was casting this film he put out a memo to the potential cast telling them that they could expect no trailer, no catering, no hairstylist, no transport and no make-up folks. Turn up, say your lines, find your own way home. And the actors lined up to get in on this.

"How quaint, Catherine Keener is getting changed in her car! Oh look, a bag of chips instead of four star cuisine! Positively charming!"

Amongst all this fun behind the scenes is a script that, frankly, is the biggest experiment of all. Plenty of critics have given away the 'twist' of the film, so I won't go into it except to say that it didn't amuse me when I found that what I was watching wasn't what I thought it was. It really only served to devalue everything that I'd bought into so far in the film. I felt like I'd been had, and though that would be fine if I was watching a short or a student film, when I'm paying ten bucks plus to get a look, I don't expect to be test patient #149,048. I came in looking for a story and interesting characters, and all I found was exasperation at gimmicky cinematography, storylines that make little sense, and even less when I realize they don't actually matter, and actors nudging and winking at each other.

A slap at Hollywood? Hardly. Listening to Harvey Weinstein call himself Baron Von Hugecock isn't a slap at Hollywood, it's a slap at the people paying to watch. That's what Full Frontal left me with, a sting on the side of the face, and though I WISH that every filmmaker would just once try something new and unique instead of going for the big box office breaking, test audience pleaser every time, this isn't what I'm looking for in a cinema experience.

Performance-wise, credit everyone involved for being believable. Catherine Keener in particular gives some real guts to her role, as does David Hyde Pierce, while Nicky Katt seemed to be just making his own movie altogether - one that I was actually interested in watching. Oh yeah, and Mary McCormack is just the sweetest thing in the world, ever. Having said that...

Yes, your film student buddies in college will say Full Frontal is extraordinary, but it isn't at all. The only thing extraordinary about it is how highly paid actors are so eager to be starfuckers and hang out with whoever is cool this weekend, no matter what he makes them do. Count me out of any future 'experiments' in this vein, and memo to Soderbergh: Tarantino wasted his audience cred on 'fun', and it hasn't served him well. Take note.

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originally posted: 08/26/02 03:16:33
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User Comments

3/17/04 Joe Movies without a plot should have to have a warning on the cover 1 stars
7/06/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back MoFos!!!) Good delivery from Soderbergh, Keener, and cameo Brad Pitt. 4 stars
4/14/03 RNmom Couldn't be stinkier 1 stars
3/27/03 Jen Is anyone else sick to DEATH of julia roberts?!?! 3 stars
3/18/03 natasha_theobald worth the risk 4 stars
9/28/02 Kim Well this sucked BIG time 1 stars
9/26/02 snowconehead what was this? where was the movie at? 1 stars
9/26/02 skba david hyde pierce and nicky katt are worh it 4 stars
9/02/02 Rover Refreshing, innovative, brilliant! DHP was fantastic! 5 stars
8/20/02 wintermute Well, I won't be seeing it again.... 3 stars
8/16/02 MissDelicateFlower cinematography was cool 4 stars
8/07/02 Enjoyed it, laughed and the performances worth looking plan to see again 4 stars
8/05/02 poetchuck Tediously grainy movie, nonsense, uncomprehensible drivel 1 stars
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  02-Aug-2002 (R)



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