Creatives vs. managers. That's a battle the entertainment industry can certainly identify with and, happily, this brainy comedy at the Nortel Palm Springs International Film Festival extends its comic outlook to just about every profession.
A devilishly funny send-up of advertising, big-agency style, "Suits" could pocket some significant change for a distributor willing to take a chance on a low-budget, anti-establishment satire whose appeal could certainly be milked in college towns. Any upper-level English, journalism or liberal arts major contemplating a job in the big, bad, entry-level world (possibly in advertising or media) could get a kick out of this cheeky comedy.
Indeed, "Suits" is the saga of one Ken Tuttle (Randy Pearlstein
), a recent literature grad toiling away at a big-time ad agency in Manhattan. He's writing copy for the sale of such staples as batteries, deodorants and now, female hygiene articles, and he fears he's turned into a hack.
Like most successful business organizations, the agency is middle-managed by suits, power-mongers who look good in meetings. The actual work is done by the creatives, the motley gaggle of writers and goof-offs who come up with the actual product, in this case the ad campaigns. Essentially, the conflict in "Suits" is the war between the MBA-ish suits and the countercultural creatives. Sound familiar?
Fortunately, filmmaker Eric Weber, who toiled long in the ad game himself, has doled out a generally even-handed comedy, seeing humor on both sides and poking crazy fun at the stiffness of the suits and the immaturity of the creatives. It's often deliriously funny, more than a little bawdy and, in general, a consistently entertaining work.
It's the talented, well-chosen cast that fleshes out "Suits" to credible, comedic dimension, including Pearlstein's subtle portrayal of the conflicted copywriter. Special praise also to Robert Klein for his convincing turn as the agency head whose smarts and instincts keep the agency on course. Tony Hendra
is wonderful as a talented creative director whose inner demons do daily battle with his writing talents; Paul Lazar
is amusing as an untalented dweeb who kowtows to management; Ingrid Rogers
is winning as a somewhat insecure and defensive "creative"; Mark Lake is so credible in his three pieces as a kiss-ass suit that you'd think he just got his MBA from Stanford last spring; and Eben More is hilarious as a prissy back-stabber.
"Suits" is Savile Row in its cut and look, owing to cinematographer Peter Nelson's comic compositions and costume designer Ivan Ingermann's daffy fits.
Producer: Chris Giordano
Screenwriter-director: Eric Weber
Executive producer: Eric Weber
Director of photography: Peter Nelson
Editor: Nancy Novack
Art director: Pam Shamshiri
Costume designer: Ivan Ingermann
Music supervisors: Lisa Gottheil
, Naomi Puterman
Music: Pat Irwin
Tom Cranston: Robert Klein
George Parkyn: Tony Hendra
Peter Haverford: Larry Pine
Mitchell Mitnick: Paul Lazar
Ken Tuttle: Randy Pearlstein
Anita Tanner: Ingrid Rogers
Doug Humphrey: James Villemaire
Harson Covington: Mark Lake
Heidi Wilson: Joelle Carter
Rodney De Mole: Eben More
Robert Naylor Sr.: Frank Minucci
Rober Naylor Jr.: Cary Prusa
Running time -- 88 minutes
No MPAA rating