A Tinseltown family unravels in writer-director Bruce Wagner
's feature debut, based on his well-regarded novel. Audiences are invited to share the pain of a father diagnosed with a terminal disease, a grown-up niece unlucky in love, and a wayward son in a shameful business. Unfortunately, "I'm Losing You" goes seriously astray in its downhill plunge.
Playing exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in West Hollywood and in New York, the Strand release of a Killer Films and Lions Gate Films production may show a little life on the art house circuit on its way to moderate success as a video rental.
Successful TV producer Perry Krohn (Frank Langella
) has made millions off his "Star Trek"-like empire, but the doctor informs him he's got only months to live. At his birthday party, he keeps the dire news a secret from his successful single niece Rachel (Rosanna Arquette
), whom he adopted as an infant, and sometime actor son Bertie (Andrew McCarthy).
Delaying the familial scenes of shared grief, Wagner profiles the cousins and their depressing lives. Bertie has so far refused to let his dad help his acting career and instead "sells short" the life insurance policies of AIDS patients, including one of Perry's loyal collaborators (Buck Henry
). An appraiser at a tony auction house, Rachel pursues younger men and wonders about her past when she encounters someone who knew her parents, tragically killed in a car wreck ... or were they?
Perry's wife of many years, Diantha, (Salome Jens
) has overlooked his unfaithfulness, and he rewards her by embarking on one last affair with the British star (Amanda Donohoe
) of his TV show. Similarly attracted to smart, experienced women, Bertie attends an upbeat party of company town "H.I.V.I.P.'S" and meets wary Aubrey (Elizabeth Perkins). Of course he hides from her his reason for being there.
Piling on the melodrama, Bertie's ex-wife Lidia (Gina Gershon
) is a druggie with a scary temper, and she proves to be irresponsible with their daughter. Things on this front get much worse, and the kind of overwhelming tragedy that would change everything happens too swiftly and inconsequentially in Wagner's progressively more unbelievable scenario, which includes a critical morgue scene that doesn't have the emotional wallop intended.
Laraine Newman appears briefly as the casting person who welcomes Bertie to Perry's on-screen family, while Rachel discovers the shocking truth about her parents and the role played by her uncle in events kept secret for decades. It all comes down hard on the Krohn tribe, but the viewer is doubly cursed with blase characters and routine filmmaking to go with the unnecessarily lurid and forgettably dreary material.
I'M LOSING YOU
Killer Films and Lions Gate Films
Writer-director: Bruce Wagner
Producers: Pamela Koffler
, Christine Vachon
Executive producers: David Cronenberg
, Michael Paseornek
Director of photography: Rob Sweeney
Production designer: Richard Sherman
Editor: Janice Hampton
Costumes: Theadora Van Runkle
Music: Daniel Catan
Casting: Billy Hopkins
, Suzanne Smith, Kerry Barden
Bertie: Andrew McCarthy
Rachel: Rosanna Arquette
Perry: Frank Langella
Diantha: Salome Jens
Philip: Buck Henry
Aubrey: Elizabeth Perkins
Lidia: Gina Gershon
Mona Deware: Amanda Donohoe
Running time -- 102 minutes
MPAA rating: R