July 9th, 2008 5:33 pm | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Barely Legal Short Cuts: Garden Party Reviewed

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garden party

Last night's preview screening of Garden Party at the Whitsell Auditorium included a guest appearance by director Jason Freeland. I didn't stay for the Q&A session.

Garden Party

Everybody has to suck a little cock when they first get to L.A., goes the outlook of writer/director Jason Freeland's vacant sophomore feature, which features an impotent gay Nebraska pothead (Alexander Cendese), a mascara-grimed waif (Willa Holland) and a street kid with pop-rock dreams (Erik Smith) having chance encounters with each other's genitals while slumming in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Vinessa Shaw (3:10 to Yuma), the closest thing the movie has to a star, plays a weed-and-real-estate mogul who has posed for the same dirty-picture photographers who target this fresh generation. She also has chance encounters, most of them involving sex and cameras. It's Short Cuts by way of Barely Legal.

Freeland's polymorphously seamy movie might have slightly succeeded in depicting Los Angeles as a cesspit if it didn't also portray the city as a hipster Big Rock Candy Mountain, where hydroponic bud grows to the size of a man's fist, and a chance encounter with a motor-mouthed talent scout leads to instant record deals. Instead, the flick has the production values of a Cinemax late-night special and the shrugging acceptance of an abuse victim. (Smith, who uncannily resembles David Archuleta, gives the film its title by covering Ricky Nelson's song as an emo ballad of premature resignation.)

What marks Garden Party as severely immoral, however, is how the movie acquiesces on behalf of its underage characters even as it leers at their nubile bodies. Exploitation of the young and stupid is forgivable, Freeland implies, because hey, they'll get over it—and there's always more where those came from, right? AARON MESH.

Garden Party was not rated by the MPAA. (It contains female nudity, implied sex and lots of girls walking around in panties.) It opens Friday at Fox Tower.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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