Sunday, September 10, 2017

Opening Night: Movie Review

Delightfully funny, chaotically real.
What a blast. There are a number of things that films can do to overcome weak stories and characters, namely, have a quick pace with popular songs and funny lines, and that’s exactly what Opening Night does. Set in approximately real time backstage at a Broadway musical on opening night, the characters aren’t particularly innovative. There are a lot of gay men and drama queens, helpful hands who aren’t exactly helpful, and Nick (Topher Grace) – the stage manager trying to pull everything together. 2017

Directed by: Isaac Rentz

Screenplay by: Gerry de Leon, Greg Lisi

Starring: Topher Grace, JC Chasez, Taye Diggs, and Alona Tal

Topher Grace is at his best as a broken character in a broad comedy. In other words, Topher Grace is at his best here. Nick is obsessed with his ex-girlfriend who went out with somebody else the night before but he doesn’t know who. She’s also the under-study for the lead role, and he’s not handling her future success all that well. He manages the rest of the motley crew with his usual brand of exasperated wittiness born form a monotonous stream of nonsense. He’s on the comedic side of an everyman, right where you need the lead character to be. He’s relatable, sympathetic enough, and very funny.

As you can guess from the title, it’s opening night at the theater. The play is called Wonderland and it’s a medley of all one-hit wonders and it’s starring – and I really need to pause here to really highlight how brilliant this choice was – JC Chasez. Yes, that’s right, former NSYNC member JC Chasez plays himself as an actor starring in a musical about one-hit wonders. And it’s marvellous. Most of the time he hits the perfect comedic note of self-parody, especially his references to NSYNC.

There are a lot of jokes in this movie, and a lot of them, especially the ones early on in the movie, really work, and helps pull the audience in. Eventually things go a bit off the wall. There’s extreme humour about sex and drug use and an adjective that gets used the most to describe it is ‘perverted’. It’s a film that’s trying to satirize the chaos of backstage broadway – it succeeds. Not all of the chaos needed to be in the film, but it is jam-packed with fun.

Alona Tal co-stars as Nick’s ex-girlfriend and the play’s new leading lady and she is delightful. Equally delightful is Anne Heche as the fading former star who has had her spot stolen by Tal. There is incredible accuracy to the realities of the entertainment industry that the film comments on, and it does it all with humour.

Opening Night is a comedy. There are a lot of jokes and undoubtedly some fail, some just miss their marks, but the rest will leave you laughing for most of the film’s short run time.
Best Lesser-known of 2017