Review: Twelve Thirty DVD

STUDIO: Virgil | DIRECTOR: Jeff Lipsky | CAST: Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Reed Birney, Portia Reiners, Karen Young, Halley Feiffer
RELEASE DATE: 11/8/2011 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes
SPECS: NR | 120 min. | Comedy drama | 1.77:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1

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

Writer/director Jeff Lipsky’s (Flannel Pajamas) 2010 film Twelve Thirty is an independent comedy of carnal manners told in long decorative monologues, filmed talking-head style, and punctuated by scenes of unabashed sexuality.

Twelve Thirty movie scene

Jonathan Groff and Portia Reiners take it to the kitchen in Twelve Thirty.

In the film, it has been a busy week for young sous-chef Jeff (Jonathan Groff, The Conspirator): He has overcome his fear that his penis is disfigured and lost his virginity to Mel (Portia Reiners, TV’s One Life to Live), with whom he has been smitten since high school. He later deflowers her older sister Maura (Mamie Gummer, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond) in a darkened closet during a party. He then has a naked encounter with their agoraphobic mother Vivien (Karen Young, Conviction) that ends in a lesson of sexual etiquette: “I’m about to put your penis in my mouth and you have the presence of mind to critique my personal life? Bad form.”


Finally, Jeff is subjected to a sadistic head game by the girls’ bisexual father (Reed Birney, Morning Glory).

Hmmm… There seems to be more going on in Iowa City than the famous literary workshop alluded to by Barbara Barrie and Rebecca Schull in their terrific double-cameo as two chatty elderly British widows.

Most of the actors handle Twelve Thirty‘s verba-centric style well. If Jonathan Groff seems awkward at times, it’s not ill-suited to the character and he compensates with a generous display of frontal nudity. Portia Reiners brings predatory edge to her soubrettish charm and she too serves a great naked cheesecake. Best is Reed Birney, whose fleeting, pointed delivery could serve as an illustration for Hamlet’s admonition of the players. And his big scene is a knockout!

Call Twelve Thirty a hothouse flower, but one with a delightfully piquant scent.

The DVD doesn’t have much in the way of special features, but there are some tasty deleted scenes.

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.