Its 12:30 pm
I have been having a fluid disscussion with another critic on Twitter this past week.
She commented on how she often liked movies that people didn’t like and offered up Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” as one example. Being a old crusty fanboy,I had to poke some gentle fun at that as I truly don’t know anyone who admits liking that movie,even with Berry running around in a skimpy outfit.
But I told her to hold her ground,she is entitled to like what she wants no matter what anyone says. I bring this up because let’s be honest,I look at my blog and its reviews and I don’t review the average fare. The majority are straight to video releases,short films and older films that rarely see the light of day outside TCM.
Many of the films that I like and champion often have some of the lowest scores on IMDb but I don’t ever consider that when reviewing. While some films definitely deserve those low scores,others,like “Author Anonymous” mostly certainly do not.
I picked up this movie from a Dollar Tree sale and it was a complete blind buy,the cast is very well known and it looked very charming so I went for it.
At first glance,”Authors Anonymous” seemed like another film I saw called “Don’t Think Twice” which was about a group of improv comedians who performed together. When one of them gets a big deal and starts becoming famous,it creates cracks in friendships and relationships.
But “Authors” came out two years earlier and added a nice twist which I really think makes it a better film and that was it told its story “mockumentary style”. What is mochumentary style” you’re asking? Well imagine a lost footage film but everyone lives in the end. Or suffering though a episode of “Housewifes”….its same format.
Somewhere in Los Angeles a small writer’s group meets every week at a different member’s home where they share their writing with their peers.
The group is led by Dr. Alan Mooney (Dylan Walsh) and his wife Collette (Teri Polo).
Collette writes overwrought historical romances while Alan is always recording ideas and names into a hand recorder….but never writes anything.
Henry Obert (Chris Klein) has a degree from Illinois and while he loves to write,so much so he works two low paying jobs so he has the time needed,he is suffering from writer’s block because he is infatuated with Hannah Rinaldi (a lovely Kaley Cuoco). Hannah in turn is a flightly free spirit who still lives at home and most surprising of all,doesn’t appear to like reading!
The group is rounded off by group asshole and pretentious wannbe William Bruce (Jonathan Bennett) and gung-ho Tom Clancy loving John K. Butzin (a scene stealing Dennis Farina) who lives with Sigrid (Tricia Helfer) who is looking to marry John for her green card.
John speaks of himself always in the third person and brags about who he “knows” in Hollywood.
On the surface the group seems pretty friendly and supportive but when Hannah lands a book deal the dynamic of the group begins to change as petty jealously and envy starts to emerge.
Henry works up the courage to ask Hannah out and while they seem to have connected,Hannah only wants to stay friends. Collette gets really jealous and asks Hannah to introduce Collette to Hannah’a agent which turns into a real awkward moment.
John decides to self-publish his war novel “Roaring Lion” with a shady company with the predicted results,they totally mess up his novel…having a dragon instead of a lion and publishing the last third of the book into Chinese.
Seeing how John is now an “published” author,he will only accept feedback from Hannah seeing how they are now peers.
Alan tries to help Collette by full court pressing noted agent David Kelleher (Jonathan Banks) into reading her pages as part of his eye exam and then by “sheer coindence” Collette happens to drop the office. We later see Kelleher toss Collette’s book in the trash…
As bad as things have gotten with Hannah’s book deal,its nothing when the group accidently finds out about the movie deal as well….and the fallout from this event has many unexpected results…..
I really was quite surprised at how much I liked “Authors Anonymous”. Director Ellie Kanner’s decision to let her group improv much of story was the right call. While I give screenwriter David Congalton credit for coming up with a script,I think sticking to said script would produced a wooden result,by cutting the cast loose for many of the scenes,especially when the characters were talking directly to the documentary film crew and were allowed to cut loose,this is when Authors really took flight. Hats off to a strong turn behind the camera for Kanner.
While the focus was on Hannah,I really was rooting for John.Other then Hannah,he was the only writing and his relentless self-promotion is something I can relate to both as a blogger and working in music for 10 years. John probably needed a big reality check but why squash his spirit,right? This was Farina’s next to last role before he passed away in 2013 and its one of his best performances.
As I mentioned,this was a very good cast and I thought everyone did very well. I can see why Kaley Cuoco is very sought after,she is a beautiful young lady and I enjoyed the chemistry she had with Chris Klein. I have watched a lot of films with Klein and other then one misfire,he has developed into a fine actor and an appealing leading man. His Henry,while very talented,is also flawed and while he has learned to accept rejection letters,he is still awkward enough to almost blow a real friendship he could have with Hannah.
Walsh and Polo have their moments to shine as the Mooneys. Jonathan Bennett played a perfect poser,his William Bruce is the kind of “writer” you see at open mic nights talking shit about other poets yet never will venture up there himself and you find yourself avoiding him at every reading.
“Authors Anonymous” is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 92 minutes.
Special features include a Director’s commentary.
The cheetah and I both gave “Authors” 2 thumbs/4 paws straight up. Definitely a charmer.