You may hate yourself in the morning, but if you’re in the mood for a morbid, completely anti-PC prank on the need to greed, the new comedy The domain maybe right up your alley.
Frankly, if you’re familiar with the work of its writer/director Dean Craig, the British filmmaker best known for the English and American remake versions of the over-the-top farce Died at funeral, as well as his directorial debut Love Wedding Rehearsal, you will know what awaits you. Subtle comic wit and three-dimensional human beings are not his specialty. Neither does restraint. The domain, shot in New Orleans, won’t disappoint, and in fact its penchant for completely politically incorrect situations and comedy is – so sue me – something of a tonic in the increasingly obsessed with awakening in which we find ourselves. He has, as an advertising line for the dark farce of the 1960s The loved one (who had being an inspiration for Craig’s comedic brand) says, “There’s something that shocks everyone”. So I burst out laughing. Still, sue me.
What gave me hope here was the great cast that Craig was able to put together. You think Toni Collette, Anna Faris, David Duchovny, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ron Livingston and more everything, the irresistible Kathleen Turner in a killer comic as the insufferable dying aunt who may hold all the cards here, there must be some redeemable value to it all. Basically, it’s just a hoot watching them all swing for the fences and score laughs at everyone’s expense.
The premise is not very original. movies like Dad is dying: who has the will? I’ve operated this stuff before, but Craig goes bankrupt, not afraid to prove that too much is never too.
Macey (Collette) and his younger sister Savanna (Faris) are at their wit’s end when their low-end restaurant is on the verge of bankruptcy, the banks won’t lend them money, and their dream business is at a standstill. When they learn that their not-so-loved and mostly ignored but very wealthy Aunt Hilda (Turner) is on her deathbed, Savanna plans to enlist Macey in a scheme to go by her side and jockey for her money. It means going into the will significantly enough to save their restaurant. Macey is reluctant, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so they set off to visit Hilda at her imposing mansion. It turns out, however, that their cousins, Beatrice (DeWitt) and the useless, weak light bulb Richard (Duchovny), aka the family Tail, are also on the case already, for themselves in this dysfunctional family. Beatrice has dragged her docile and weak husband, James (Livingston) with her, and turns to gentleness to convince Hilda that she is his beloved niece, and always has been even though she is a very recent conversion. Richard has at least been the only cousin to keep in touch with his “favorite aunt”, not a smart guy but smart enough to know that loyalty could benefit her when she kicks the bucket.
The fun here is watching them all go head-to-head in rough fashion. Macey and Savanna even kidnap Hilda in order to force a reunion with their mother, forever estranged from her sister, because they think it might benefit their cause – it ends in disaster. On top of that, Richard has always had a crush on Macey, even though they are related, always making moves with her. “Did you know there are entire porn sites dedicated just to cousin fucking?” he asks.
During a family dinner in which they all jockey for Hilda’s attention, Beatrice presents her with a lovingly compiled scrapbook of her life, and as she skims through it, he points out that high school student, Bill Dunther, could have been the love of her. life, but it was he who fled. She laments that she will never have sex again. The light bulbs go out and Savanna comes up with the idea of finding Bill (a play by Danny Vinson), only to find him living in a just-released halfway house for prisoners, in his case serving jail time for his penchant for expose himself to anyone he sees. Nevertheless, they convince him to come visit Hilda before she passes away, but the plan quickly spirals out of control when Hilda and Bill unexpectedly announce wedding plans almost immediately after the meeting, meaning it would be Invoice who becomes the primary beneficiary of his will. Oy. Now with someone in common for stop, the desperate parents unite for what becomes one, and only one, of the film’s most deliciously tasteless sequences. It may not be on the same level as the greed comedy masterpiece, 1963 It’s a mad mad mad mad world, but it will be fine.
Turner, with comedic primo timing, steals every scene she’s in, as you’d expect. Faris puts her sitcom chops to good use, as the ever-welcome Collette gets to play her mostly straight. Duchovny seems to be having as much fun as possible, De Witt is great fun, even when she goes so far as to prostitute her hapless husband to give Hilda one last sexual experience. Kelly Monterrose Mejia (so funny in last season Calm your enthusiasm as an aspiring actress with no talent) is cast perfectly as Macey and Savanna’s younger brother who is called into service to save their plan. Gichi Gamba and Patricia French also show up in small but memorable roles along the way.
The producers are Marc Goldberg, Sarah Gabriel, Sarah Jessica Parker and Alison Benson. The production from Signature Entertainment and Capstone Studios opens in theaters today.
You’ve been warned, but if you want a few giggles, you could do worse.
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