Review: (Untitled) DVD

STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Jonathan Parker | STARS: Adam Goldberg, Marley Shelton, Eion Bailey, Lucy Punch, Zak Orth, Vinnie Jones
RELEASE DATE: 9/21/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 96 min. | Romantic comedy | widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

A pleasantly unpretentious romantic comedy about wildly pretentious artists, the low-key (Untitled) from filmmaker Jonathan Parker (Bartleby) succeeds in showcasing actress Marley Shelton, who starred in Robert Rodriguez’s half of Grindhouse (while also appearing in a smaller role in Quentin Tarantino’s half).

The independent film’s actual star is Adam Goldberg (2 Days in Paris), who plays an avant-garde musician whom Shelton’s small art-gallery owner falls in love with. Goldberg’s character is so obviously talentless (humorless, and charmless), though, that one is drawn to Shelton’s character and co-star Eion Bailey (TV’s Covert Affairs) as Goldberg’s fine-artist brother, whose work is commercially successful but not critically acclaimed.

The cast do their level best to incarnate Parker and co-scripter Catherine Di Napoli’s characters, who are either stick figures (“pretentious artists” and little more) or misguided souls who believe, like Goldberg’s character, that they’re actually doing something Earth-shaking. Shelton makes the most of her character’s sweet delusion about the value of her cherished artists’ work and contributes some memorably odd comic moments wearing noisy form-fitting outfits and lecturing on her gallery’s standards.

(Untitled) is so low-key that it doesn’t put one off, but its ultimate message, that a good deal of the art world is pretentious, has already been explored by several novels and movies, among them John Waters’ Pecker. The latter, much like (Untitled), pursued its message wholeheartedly and left viewers wondering, “Yeah… so?”

 

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About Ed

Ed Grant has written about film for a wide range of periodicals, books and websites. He edited the reference book The Motion Picture Guide Annual and, since 1993, has produced and hosted the weekly cable program Media Funhouse, which Time magazine called “the most eclectic and useful movie show on TV.”