A murdered wife. A jealous husband. A jilted lover. And a frightened friend. All of them in the same apartment at the same time. Three of them setting aside bitter differences and better ...
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A murdered wife. A jealous husband. A jilted lover. And a frightened friend. All of them in the same apartment at the same time. Three of them setting aside bitter differences and better judgment in the hope of earning a ten million dollar payday. When Michael Taylor, a washed-up artist, discovers that his wife has been murdered in the upstairs bedroom of their swanky loft, the decision about what to do next isn't nearly as easy as it seems. That's because downstairs he's hosting an impromptu cocktail party for two wealthy fans who are very interested in purchasing his latest work. Michael, who hasn't sold a painting in over five years, convinces Marti, his wife's dedicated assistant, and Dominick, a young artist who has been mentored by Michael and seduced by his wife, that they should all keep quiet and close the deal. Despite being uncertain about each other's motives, and still wondering whether or not one of them is in fact the killer, they form a pact to shut up and sell the ... Written by
David H. Luz
There is one scene in this production that is halfway okay where the characters behave like real human beings and have a sense of humor about themselves and each other. The rest of Tiny Little Lies is like a documentary of a terrible acting class where the hapless students are taught to yell as loud as they can whenever something dramatic is called for. Combined with direction that wallows in unintentional self-parody and writing that reaches the absolute zero of frigid stupidity at the end, this is either one of the most inept low-budget indy flicks you'll ever see or it's a brilliant satire of terrible, low-budget indy flicks that I wasn't smart enough to get. I'd bet a lot of money it's the former.
Michael (John Thaddeus) is an emotional painter who hasn't made a sale or done a good piece of work in 5 years. He lives in a rundown loft with his manager/wife Crystal (Lenise Soren), who is supposed to be a bitch on wheels but comes off like a school girl pretending to be a soap opera villain. I have no idea if that's how the character is supposed to be or if the rather sexy Lenise Soren just can't act. The story opens with Crystal lying in their upstairs bed with a butcher knife sticking out of her back, Michael with a black eye and the loft looking like there's been a fight. That's when Crystal's assistant Marti (Jaclyn Kerhulas) shows up and informs Michael he's going to host a party that night for a rich wife (Hillary Crouse) and her rap mogul husband (George Sharperson) who want to pay 10 million dollars for Michael's latest paintings. Then Michael's estranged protégé Dominck (Drew Berenc) shows up to join the party, Marti and Dominick discover Michael kneeling next to Crystal upstairs and the three of them decide to not call the cops until they can complete the sale. What follows that are lots of flashbacks involving Crystal, lots of yelling and an outburst where an anti-gay slur is repeated so often it's like somebody's trying to win a contest on The Howard Stern Show.
For the sake of my own sanity, I'm not going to get into the ending. Suffice to say it's so awesomely dumb that it is what made me think for a second this thing might be some kind of uber-clever lampoon of people who turn their awful, unproduced stage plays into even more atrocious, low-budget indy flicks. Well, it was that and another scene where Crystal and Dominick are supposed to have one of those sexually charged, seductive discussions while the camera rotates around them, except their performances are so hokey and the camera work is so ham-handed that I thought "they can't really be serious with this, can they?"
While I've singled out Lenise Soren and Drew Berenc, everybody's acting in this is suspect. None of them seem like actual human beings. They all come off as desperate, wannabe actors being put through poorly conceived dramatic exercises by an instructor who couldn't get a job acting as a corpse on a TV detective show. It's possible I'm being unfair to this cast because the material they've got to work with is truly dreadful. Dustin Hoffman and Marlon Brando couldn't say these lines with a straight face and it's all staged in an awkward and artificial manner.
Let me give you an example of how much Tiny Little Lies sucks. There's a point in the story where they start talking about the act of deceiving or scamming another person and they repeatedly refer to it as doing "The P.T. Barnum". Say that phrase out loud a few times. It doesn't sound natural, does it? It's the "P.T" part. It neither sounds good nor rolls easily off the tongue. Even granting that someone under 70 might use P.T. Barnum as a reference to lying or fraud, they wouldn't say his whole name. They'd call it "the Barnum". No one would call a daring military maneuver "pulling a Napoleon Bonaparte". They'd call it "a Napoleon" or "a Bonaparte". And it's not just that the line of dialog is bad. What's worse is that no one on set noticed how goofy and stilted and contrived is sounded while they were making the film. How did no one say "You know what? Leave out the P.T. and just call it the Barnum"?
And what was with screenwriter David H. Luz having his female characters talk about how women are natural born liars? Did his girlfriend break up with him while he was writing this script?
Tiny Little Lies doesn't even have any nudity going for it, which is especially a shame because Soren, Jaclyn Kerhulas and Hillary Crouse are all quite attractive. Heck, having over-sized African American George Sharperson drop trou would have at least brought the unexpected to this otherwise tired affair.
If you have the bad judgment to subject yourself to Tiny Little Lies, you'll be able to recognize that halfway okay scene I mentioned earlier as soon as it starts. If you keep watching after that, you don't have bad judgment. You have no judgment at all. I strongly recommend you avoid this movie.
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