June 04, 2004

LA Times review!

So cool... check this out:

Footloose fun in parody 'Lame!'

Self-referential glee punches through "Lame!" at Stages. Writer-director Rich Nathanson's garage-show assault on the dancing-for-your-life movie oeuvre of the 1980s is a rudely risible Tinseltown travesty.

Footloose hunklet Bacon Swayze (Doug Steves) dirty dances because of dead love Baby, her ashes stashed in an Oscar. Stuttering virgin Orson (Peter James Smith) seeks fame, hearkening after his acting idol, Greg Kinnear.

Flash-dancing Murray (Michelle Merring) flees her father, husband and Irene Cara complications, blank eyes wide open behind the welder's mask.

Their formulas congeal at the Los Angeles Music and Ego competition, which provides "Lame's" most surreal laughs. The unhinged cast exploits the title ethic through deliberately execrable songs and choreographers Evita Arce and Jenny Powazek's pseudo-Jeffrey Hornaday spasms, to cackling effect. Steves, Smith and Merring inhale Nathanson's goofball conceit, as do their colleagues in multiple roles. Running jokes include Tyler Tanner's emphatic celebrity encounters ("Yes. I am George Clooney."); Jackson Varady as the requisite scheming rival; and Juliette Storace's pixilated spirit of Baby. And the howling, femme-to-femme turns by Mauri Bernstein and Jenny Powazek carry all before them.

This is fortunate. Nathanson's sketch-show blackouts, obscure in-jokes and already dated industry gossip straddle a constant line between skewering mediocrity and succumbing to mediocrity. Some bits are strictly barroom fodder.

Though the basement-budget tech tries, particularly Aaron Francis' resourceful lighting, its execution does not exactly crackle. Yet despite (or because of) the gamely threadbare trappings and gamy tabloid tactics, "Lame!" is a raucous guilty pleasure like the genre it trashes. Mary-Kate and Ashley, beware.

I play Ashley, of course. COME SEE IT! Only four weeks left. :o)

Posted by Jenny at 11:25 PM | Comments (1)