5.7/10
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Ellie Parker (2005)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 14 July 2006 (UK)
A hilarious comic portrait of a young woman's struggle for integrity, happiness and a Hollywood acting career.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jennifer Syme ...
Greg Freitas ...
Rick Saul (as Gregory Frietas)
Gaye Pope ...
Blair Mastbaum ...
Jessica Vogl ...
...
Sam
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Justin
Kim Fay ...
...
Chris
Todd Coffey ...
David Baer ...
...
Robbi Chong ...
Acting Student (as Robby Chong)
Jessicka ...
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Storyline

Slice of life look at a young woman trying to make it as an actress in Hollywood. Ellie Parker, from Australia, works hard: she's gifted with accents, hustles to auditions, changes clothes and makeup as she drives across L.A., goes to acting classes and therapy, maintains a friendship with another Aussie searching for the same roles, meets a cinematographer when he bangs into her car at a stop sign, and faces a failing relationship with her slacker thinks-he's-a-musician boyfriend. All this brings on an identity crisis - who am I, and should I keep trying to be an actress? Ellie's balancing act and her inquiry into self carry the story. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Taglines:

What happens when you become the person you pretend to be?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

14 July 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Elli Parker - Schauspielerin  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the feature film version of the sixteen minute short Ellie Parker (2001), which was also directed by Scott Coffey and starred Naomi Watts in the leading role. See more »

Goofs

One shot at the zoo is played in reverse, made evident by the water running upwards before the camera pans to Ellie. See more »

Quotes

[after sex]
Chris: I was thinking of Johnny Depp.
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Connections

References Shoot the Moon (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart of Glass
Composed by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Performed by Blondie
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User Reviews

 
Watts is terrific, movie isn't
21 April 2006 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

I'd looked forward to this one, as most attempts at satirizing Hollywood life in the last two decades, both from studios and indies, have ranged from mediocre to unmitigated disasters. This one offered Naomi Watts in a starring role, and I've adored her since "Mulholland Drive", both as a terrific, versatile actress and as an unqualified beauty (they all seem to come from Australia and the U.K. these days, don't they?).

Well, Ms. Watts does shine in the title role, and she's in every scene, but somehow the film still falls flat. I'm not a big fan of film-making on digital video -- it always comes across to me like I'm watching someone's home movies, an experience I should be paid for, not that I should have to pay for -- but I understand why it's done in certain cases. In this case, it was a mistake.

Writer-director Coffey appears to be going for verite-style realism (I'm assuming he's not so arrogant as to place himself in the uber-pretentious Dogme 95 school), but he doesn't seem to realize that in order for any film to work, the result shouldn't come across as a home movie or, in this case, a student film.

Too much time is spent on Ellie in her car, doing all the things that Angelenos do in their cars because they're just too busy to do them elsewhere (applying makeup, changing clothes, practicing their lines, and the universal asshole-identifier, talking on their cellphones) and too self-absorbed to care how it affects their driving or those around them. This works as satire for one scene -- the next four times it occurs it feels just like being stuck in a car behind one of these narcissists, and it's not an enjoyable feeling. There's a related scene about halfway through that's amusingly ironic, but not worth the endurance test.

Just as with the interior car shots, much of the satire is overripe, pushing the irritation factor of nearly every character to its limits, testing the thresholds of both humorous exaggeration and simple tolerance. No satire should leave you wanting to burn the characters and their milieu to the ground (apart from "Day of the Locust", in which Hollywood does in fact burn, deservedly, but in context).

(As an aside, and for a chuckle, this may be the first time Keanu Reeves isn't the most annoying element of a movie he's in. But then, he appears only as a member of his band Dogstar, playing in a club, and he has no lines.) The other key problem is often endemic to film satire: it moves at a snail's pace. Unless you're the rare individual who's both an struggling thespian in Hollywood AND a caring, thoughtful individual, you will probably find yourself yawning a lot more frequently than laughing during this 95 minutes.

For all its drawbacks, though, this is a showcase for Naomi Watts to show how versatile she is, with the verisimilitude of her having to switch between characters, accents, moods, etc. The overall comment, that she doesn't really seem to be herself very often and has no idea who that self really is within the realm of all her "performing," is funny and worth exploring, but Coffey (or someone else) needs a vehicle that's more engaging, clearer about its objectives, and at least somewhat watchable.


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