Monday, August 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 161



Intriguing 'Full Frontal' juggles movies to undress Tinseltown

By Geronimo Rodriguez
The Daily Cougar

Whether Steven Soderbergh threw three (or four) films into one is sure to spark conversation followed by a lengthy explanation of just how many films are within this film. 

Either way, Soderbergh has created a movie experience that mirrors a rollercoaster ride on a gritty track of celluloid, going out of its way to give us a glimpse of what goes on in the lives of those involved in filmmaking.

It's amazing that Soderbergh and Full Frontal's writer Coleman Hough even attempt to carry a storyline amid the fuss between a pretentious actor (Blair
Underwood) and his leading lady (Julia Roberts); a dominatrix (Catherine Keener) who fires off quirky questions and tosses around a globe when
interviewing employees, her insecure husband (David Hyde Pierce) and a few other characters who perhaps give audiences more details than they can

Full Frontal begins with Underwood's character being interviewed by Julia Roberts' character (let us abstain from referring their film names to avoid
confusion). Everything is going smooth until Underwood's character jumps into a scene with Brad Pitt. When they say 'cut', Underwood goes back to Roberts
where they say 'cut' again and Roberts' character takes off a wig and walks off the set. This sequence is both intriguing and the beginning of what Soderberg
is attempting to do from the start.

You think the conversation during the aforementioned interview is nothing more than flirtatious gestures from one if not both, but after you realize they're
making a movie, it's almost clear that Underwood and Roberts (and even Pitt) are poking fun at the film business, or laughing at how serious and
self-absorbed everyone is in the film business (especially celebrities).

It's almost as if Soderbergh is undressing actors and actresses for who they are; the confusion occurs when they take themselves so seriously they even
they begin to blur the lines between the characters they're playing and who they actually are.

Underwood and Roberts bounce well off each other, but Keener plays the role of the dominatrix ridiculously well.

Aside from the tangled plot, the Academy Award-winning and more importantly, respected director uses the gritty and shaky digital camera style to shoot the
film, which only took 18 days. 

With the artistic feel of the film, some will think Soderbergh has decided to go back to his days of sex, lifes and videotape. But it's just another challenge for
the director. A lot of moviegoers who think they're going to see Julia Roberts steal the show might walk out from nausea, and others who are looking for
some full-frontal nudity will want to pass on this, as well. In other words, the casual moviegoer is sure to complain more about the movie than the stale

But as Full Frontal's tagline goes: It's a movie about movies for people who love movies. Either you're laughing at the bizarre twists involving a popular
producer, played by David Duchovny, or the inane ramblings of the aspiring actor who's about to play Hitler, played by Nicky Katt, the film is full of extraordinary
characters in those "only in the movies" situations.

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