Friday, April 8, 2011

Peep World (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Peep World” Looks at
Dysfunctional Family

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

What do you do when your brother writes a tell-all novel based on the family? Well, you’d hate him, of course.

The literary community describes it as a look at “a dysfunctional family on the brink of implosion.”

“Like a bad photograph of yourself,” one of the brothers says of the book. “It hurt.”

Nathan Meyerwitz (Ben Schwartz) is the author in question. His inside-the-family bestseller is called “Peep World” – same as the title of this film, now playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Mom assures his sister Cheri (Susan Silverman) that it’s a work of fiction. But readers don’t see it that way. She’s suing her brother over the book.

Brother Jack (Michael C. Hall) is losing his job with the architectural firm, his wife is pregnant, and his wife catches him ogling girls at a porn palace peep show. Maybe there’s more truth to the book’s revelations than he’d like to admit.

Brother Joel (Rainn Wilson) is a mooch, an unsuccessful lawyer being chased by a Honduran “collection agency.” His only client is his girlfriend (Taraji P. Henson) seeking a divorce from her husband. He hopes dad will bail him out.

Although a successful author, Nathan has his issues too. A doctor he finds on Craig’s List assures him that premature ejaculation is a common problem. However, the prescribed injection produces a tumescence that proves awkward when he shows up at a book signing at full attention. “God is punishing me for what I did to my family,” Nathan tells his publicity assistant (Kate Mara). “I can’t go to my dad’s party like this.”
“Speaking as a woman, there’s a lot more to a guy than his sexual performance,” she tells him. “There’s his heart, his kindness, his sensitivity.”

“I’m screwed there too,” he bemoans his situation.

“You’re really not such a bad guy,” she assures him. “You’re really full of yourself, but you’re an incredible writer.” So she goes way beyond the call of duty, offering a solution that’s much more effective than a hot bath.

In this moment of intimacy, Nathan confesses to her, “Everything in the book is really true.”
“Even that part about your sister sleeping with the entire cast of ‘Tony and Tina’s Wedding’?”
“She really loved that show,” he says.

So at their father’s 70th birthday dinner, the four siblings must come to terms with the novel. And with their father, a gruff real estate mogul (well played by Ron Rifkin).

To make matters worse, dad shows up with his trophy girlfriend, unmindful that his ex-wife (Leslie Ann Warren) is at the dinner. And being Daddy’s Little Girl, Cheri is not amused that dad’s girlfriend is the actress playing her in the movie version of her brother’s book.

“Congratulations, Nate. You did it, kid,” toasts dad, a deliberate put-down to his less successful kids.
But Nathan wants to know how he liked the book?

“I haven’t read it,” he replies, crushing his son’s ego.

The family has gathered out of duty, even though no one wants to be there. More like a psychotherapy session than a birthday dinner, the accusations fly across the table like darts.

“All this over a book?” says Joel’s girlfriend. “I have cousins who shot each other and got over it.”

The cast is familiar to television viewers. Ron Rifkin from his runs on TV’s “ER,” “Alias,” and “Brothers & Sisters.” Michael C. Hall from his role as TV’s favorite serial killer “Dexter.” Ben Schwartz from TV’s “Parks and Recreation” and “Undercover.” Rainn Wilson from his turn as an employee of TV’s “The Office.” Sarah Silverman from being TV’s bad-girl comedienne on the “The Sarah Silverman Program.” Leslie Ann Warren from “Desperate Housewives” and “In Plain Sight.” And Narrator Lewis Black from his “Root of All Evil” television show and 312 appearances as a commentator of “The Daily Show With John Stewart.”
It’s good to see them together on the big screen.

“How does the dinner end?” you might ask. You have to go see the movie to find out. But even dysfunctio
nal families have to stick together.
[from Solares Hill]

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