A Panther Joe Diversion
Director: Bill Guttentag
Starring: Eva Mendes, David Krumholtz, Katie Cassidy, and Jay Hernandez
I should start out saying that I was roped into this flick because Katie Cassidy was attached to it--I would watch that girl mow a lawn if it were on DVD, but I digress-- and when I read the synopsis I was instantly excited.
Live! (pronounced like Saturday Night Live) is classified as a 'mockumentary' but I tend to believe those are sarcastic or humorous but the tone set in this movie was far from it. The movie follows Rex (Krumholtz) and his documentary about television producer Katy (Mendes) throughout the course of her stressful work day, which includes her pitches to advertisers and network presidents for zany reality shows.
I enjoyed the concept of this film that was part The Office and part The Running Man until we were subject to the potholes of getting the show broadcast. It felt like the movies foundation was based upon the actual show, so the journey from conception to production came off as mailed in. What saved the movie, however, were the interjections of the other characters through vignettes put together to promote the actual contestants. This is where we meet the six contestants (for six chambers in the pistol) and are instantly attached to them because of their distance from the actual show. One of the presidents said he wanted to showcase each contestant like those sappy back stories you see on the Olympics, and it was pulled off brilliantly.
Each of the six contestants chosen were unique and divided the general public enough to where people being interviewed could identify with somebody and root for them. Whether it is Jewel (Cassidy), the girl trying to make it big in Hollywood, Pablo (Hernandez), the gay Mexican cook looking to fit in, or Brad (Eric Lively), the surfer looking to just live out the easy life with his girlfriend, you are attached to each one with anticipation as we are drawn closer to this show that is creeping up like a bad omen.
But how do they convince people to become contestants on this show? Money, of course. Lots of it and lots of it for everyone who doesn't have their head blown off.
The ending is what really left an impression with me. I don't often stick by what I think might happen, but I was damn sure I knew how it was going to end and I was way off. I even went so far to announce to my roommate my guess for the ending and was left with egg on my face. It wasn't a surprise or twist ending by any means, nor was their overwhelming evidence as to why my prediction should have come to fruition--it was just a damn fine way to complete a story.
This is one to check out for its simplicity. Where many of this genre rely on the 'inmates' or 'death row convicts' angle to showcase our own thirst for blood, this effort brings to the limelight something a lot more palpable. This is your choice and this is a ton of money...