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Stephen S. Campanelli
In Santa Monica, a woman becomes alarmingly concerned over her fiancé's unnaturally close relationship with his teenage daughter. In Westwood, a sexual act turns into a psychological obsession for a young woman. In West Hollywood, a gay couple buys a young daughter and attempts to mold her to fit their lifestyle. In Holmby Hills, maladjusted kids and their equally maladjusted nanny play murderous games. In Sherman Oaks, a rape victim faces her violator. In these five stories, one thing is clear, everything is taken to extremes in California. Written by
Writer/Director Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity 1- 4, Disturbia, Dirty Sexy Money) has pasted together five unrelated stories and placed them before the audience like an O'Henry buffet. Cast with some excellent actors (one wonders why they signed on to this project) some of the stories work better than others, but the problem is that the story line of each deals with some dark material that is placed in an attempted comedic vein: most are not at all funny.
Traveling around different areas of Los Angeles Landon pulls up situational stories that are apparently supposed to represent life in those particular zones. Very bad for tourism as well as somewhat challenging for the real neighborhood personnel! Santa Monica: a woman (Rosamund Pike) becomes alarmingly concerned over her fiancé's (Dylan McDermott) unnaturally close relationship with his teenage daughter (Emily Meade). In Westwood, a sexual act requested by a man (Robert Hoffman) turns into a psychological obsession for a young woman (Jamie Chung). In West Hollywood, a gay couple (Peter Macdissi/Anson Mount) buys a young African daughter and attempts (unsuccessfully) to mold her to fit their lifestyle. In Holmby Hills, maladjusted kids and their equally maladjusted nanny (Paz Vega) play murderous games. In Sherman Oaks, a rape victim (Zoe Saldana) faces her violator (Nick Stahl) with a revenge all her own. There are lot of other fine actors caught up in this mélange but their roles are small.
Depending on your state of mind, these stories border on parody, black humor, sick outlook, and just uninteresting. The things presented as comedy .makes you wonder.
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