DVD Review: Bad Actress

Bad Actress DVDSTUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Robert Lee King | CAST: Beth Broderick, Chris Mulkey, Whitney Able, Vincent Ventresca, Keri Lynn Pratt, Nathan Lee Graham, Ryan Hansen
2/12/2012 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
SPECS: NR | 85 min. | Comedy | widescreen | stereo

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

In Robert Lee King’s (Psycho Beach Party) dark comedy movie Bad Actress, Alyssa Rampart-Pillage (Beth Broderick, TV’s Lost), beloved star of TV’s HMO Nurse, arrives at one of a plethora of funerals garbed in a backless black mini-dress to cries of “Alyssa, who are you wearing?”

Bad Actress movie scene

Beth Broderick and Vincent Ventresca take care of business at an appliance store in Bad Actress.

That said, this 2011 film festival independent favorite has enough show biz jabs and over-the-top humor to fulfill its camp quotient!

When we first check in on Alyssa, HMO Nurse has been cancelled and her career has been reduced to commercials for her husband Bernie’s (Chris Mulkey, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) appliance empire. After the couple’s greenie daughter Topango Sue (Keri Lynn Pratt, TV’s Smallville) dies in a tragic golf ball malfunction, Bernie goes spiritual and threatens to give all the family money to a cult. Disaster ensues, but fear not, because our plucky heroine finds a career-boosting silver lining — er, red carpet — in all the attention, intrigue, murder and mayhem that follows.

King’s steady direction effectively serves up David Michael Barrett’s biting script. Even better, the filmmaker’s elegant, shadowy visuals (underpinned by a melodramatic score by Frederik Wiedmann) and clever plot twists make the film’s camp palatable for an even wider, straighter audience than one would initially suspect.

With her low and breathy voice, leading lady Beth Broderick beautifully understates the sense of entitlement that is the essence of stardom (while still looking good topless). Indeed, the entire cast understands: the more outrageous the situation, the straighter you play it.

Bad Actress is a fun movie. Get a vat of Häagen-Dazs and forget the world’s troubles for an hour-and-a-half. And keep an eye out for Corbin Bernsen’s hysterical cameo.


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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.