Casually dismissed by those who place a premium on things like narrative, visual lucidity, and editorial smoothness, writer/director/emotional exhibitionist/mumblecore forefather Henry Jaglom trudges forth undeterred, making his self-financed, self-distributed, unapologetically personal portraits of hopeless L.A. neurotics searching for self-fulfillment. A professed male lesbian, who has made prior films on the subjects of pregnancy and eating disorders, Jaglom here turns his distaff radar on the relationship between women and their fathers. His latest ingénue, Tanna Frederick, stars as a singer looking for a man she can love and admire as much as her dearly departed dad. Frederick, who played a comically desperate aspiring actress in Jagloms previous (and better) Hollywood Dreams, remains very much in capital-A Actor mode here, though her sometimes cartoonishly big performance is counterbalanced by those of erstwhile Jaglom muse Andrea Marcovicci, who acts and sings beautifully in a couple of scenes as a mystery woman from Fredericks past, and Victoria Tennant, who lends the film unexpected emotional ballast as Fredericks mother. As in many of Jagloms more middling efforts, moments of genuine insight alternate freely with those of banal psychologizing, but even then there can be no denying that the filmmaker has an ear for a certain brand of self-absorbed discourse often overheard in restaurants and bars in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. And, given the choice, Ill take Henrys home movies over Jonathan Demmes any day of the week.
July 24-30, 2009