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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ensemble Comedy "#RIP" Takes a Stab at Celebrity . . . REALITY Style!

"#RIP" (2013)
Genre: Comedy
Length- 14:18
Company: Who's That? Productions
Website: Kevin Machate

A group of self absorbed friends and co-workers meet to mourn the death of famed actress Lydia Walters (Marilyn Ghigliotti, Clerks). Though at first they sing her praises, it very quickly becomes all too apparent that maybe she's not quite as kind and delightful as they all make her out to be.

And maybe her death wasn't an accident after all.

Maybe it's better off that way, too. 

READING FOR THE PART

"#RIP" might only be fourteen minutes long, but the pace still drags as director/producer Kevin Machate and screenwriter Roanna Flowers milk the same jokes repeatedly.  That's not to say that those jokes weren't funny, because they WERE quite funny -- the first few times. 

That's the root of the problem for "#RIP": it's a very one note production.  We have a group of people who clearly don't like the not-so-dearly departed.  It's a message that rings loud and clear through the witty banter between the main characters.  The flashback scenes feel forced and unnecessary, once again just proving everything that we already know based on the behavior of the other characters.

Probably the standout thespian on display here would be Ammie Leonards, who plays CourtNay, a young actress trying desperately to get the attention of the camera at all costs.  She's adorable and I love how she telegraphs what she's thinking solely through her facial expressions.  There's not a lot going on in CourtNay's brain, but she sure thinks she's manipulating everyone else, and the result is an authentic and very funny performance.

That being said, the acting as a whole is pretty solid, with everyone pulling their own weight.  The characters weren't endearing enough to make this a solid ensemble piece, but "#RIP" is an entertaining comedy in its own right and without question worth your time.

Interesting factoid, this from Machate himself: Missi Pyle (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake) was on board to star as Lydia, but after taking a few stills which are included in the film she was unable to appear due to prior engagements.  As a result, Ghigliotti took over the role.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  There are laughs, but they are recycled one too many times.  There's also no real theme to take away from the film, and therefore no reason to think about it after the fact.
Directing: 3.5 / 5.  Machate gives the film an authentic "reality TV" style production. 
Editing: 3 / 5.  Professional and it has that sporadic television feel.  The film's pacing takes a hit, particularly as we're rolling from midpoint to the end. 
Sound/Music: 3 / 5.  Efficient, and the sound design is professional so as not to distract from what we're watching.
Acting: 4 / 5.  Ghigliotti acts like a bitch and she does it well.  Heath Allyn does a great job of looking smarmy, and his reaction at the postscript is a high point -- good stuff!  David Henne also puts on a good show and upon watching this, I wouldn't let him in a kitchen.  Ammie Leonards' performance won me over and kept me interested for the duration of the film more than anything else.

Final Grade: 3.3 / 5.

"#RIP" is making the festival circuit as we speak, so if it comes near you, check it out!  If it doesn't visit a town close by, fear not -- I will update this page when it's uploaded to the Internet for more widespread public consumption.



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!