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"