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Full Frontal

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Full Frontal

Starring: Blair Underwood, Julia Roberts
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Rated: R
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: August 2002
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: David Fincher, Nicky Katt, Catherine Keener, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Brad Rowe, Jerry Weintraub, David Duchovny

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

When Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh teams up with Oscar-winner Julia Roberts, attention must be paid. But this enigmatic movie-within-a-movie concept is quite bewildering. Even Soderbergh describes it as a sketch, an experiment. Written by poet/playwright Coleman Hough, it's a 24-hour, slice-of-life show-biz saga. Julia Roberts plays Francesca, a blonde actress, who's playing the role of a dark-haired journalist named Catherine in a movie called "Rendezvous." She's interviewing TV-actor Blair Underwood, who's playing an actor in yet another film with Brad Pitt. Catherine Keener is a frustrated v.p. of Human Resources, married to an insecure Los Angeles magazine writer, David Hyde-Pierce. Mary McCormack is Keener's massage-therapist sister who's planning a weekend at a Holiday Inn in Tucson with a man she met on the Internet, not realizing he's the playwright she picks up at an airport Food Court. His play, "The Sound and the Fuhrer," stars Nicky Katt as Adolf Hitler. Their divergent paths eventually intersect at the 40th birthday bash of a producer, David Duchovny. Sounds confusing? It is. And it's supposed to be, filled with in-jokes that blur the line between perception and reality. But Soderbergh's "sex, lies and videotape" pushed the envelope and so does this quirky, self-conscious exercise. And just how low-budget was it? Along with using grainy digital video, I heard Soderbergh insisted his cast drive themselves to work each day, give up their posh dressing-room trailers, and bring their own wardrobe, make-up - and lunch. Did that included Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein? On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Full Frontal" is a talky, tedious 4. When Catherine Keener's character sighs, "I just want this day to be over," I found myself nodding in agreement.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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