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Chez Upshaw (2013)

6.5
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The story of a married couple who turn their bed and breakfast lodge into a resort for assisted suicides.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Julie Adams ...
Elise
...
Montage Guest #1
Annie Bakke ...
Montage Guest 6
...
Patty / Burly Man
Linda Brent ...
Montage Guest 4
...
Reg. Nixon
...
Guest
Seth Cushvion ...
Cleaner#4
...
Cleaner #4
...
Rita Upshaw
Lavern Elrod ...
Montage Guest 8
Sean Goodearl ...
Attendant'
James Green ...
Montage Guest 3
...
Mahoney
Gloria Heaton ...
Montage Guest 5
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Storyline

The story of a married couple who turn their bed and breakfast lodge into a resort for assisted suicides.

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Plot Keywords:

suicide | assisted death | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

20 March 2013 (USA)  »

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During the second day of filming the Montage Guests, they were asked to create their own names and sign in as guests from U.S. cities of their choice. William Mortensen Vaughan chose to play the role of Wilbur Woodruff, from Mantua, Utah. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Colorful, Edgy Black Comedy About Love, Death & Renovation
20 November 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A new Black Comedy by writer-director Bruce Mason is a full-length gem of a film starring Illeana Douglas and Kevin Pollak, filmed in a boisterous, colorful 1960's-style with a fun. swingy score to boot. The two leads play a bickering couple, Rita & Heaton Upshaw whose rather palatial mansion with luscious lawns and swimming pool offer "Headquarters for B & B Fun" (we learn later they were highest rated B & B in 1983). But a receding economy mirrors a marriage also in recession. The story begins with a familiar banker visiting the Upshaws to say he's NOT extending their loan and, therefore: foreclosure is inevitable. Pollak's broad, comic abilities are perfect for Heaton (whom she calls "Skipper" throughout) --he often burst into hilarious little slapstick fits, and Douglas (whom he occasionally calls "Lovey") is maybe a little more broad with her comic portrayal than we are accustomed to (perhaps to better match/fight Pollak) --but it all melds together beautifully: the chemistry of this long-anguished couple rings truer with each scene. The film's opening --revealing a mansion in disarray-- is nicely detailed with the faulty wiring in the broken house (nothing works right: the oven, the dryer, outlets that cause a vacuum to explode) We get a sense of the couple's history (She levels him by blatantly questioning two years without sex, and he fires back "I didn't want to get in the way of your hot flashes!"). If I questioned the somewhat lengthy set-up, fun as it is, it is vital to the story's darkly comic, karmic-infused finale --macabre as it is --and which we don't see coming.

Once their doom is set, fate (or the comedy gods) send an old man in a wheelchair --their "last customer ever", so they think.-- and he becomes a savior. The films purpose --and the story's raison d' etre-- is revealed. The movie's silliness is going to embrace the dead-serious subject of Assisted Suicide. The darker the turns Mason takes, the funnier it gets. And the more unpredictable: Just when you think the ridiculousness will keep trying to top itself, a rather beautiful scene unfolds with an elderly couple showing the underside, the urgency of this end of life choice. These two daffy "losers" Rita and Heaton gain some nobility once they become "successful" and infused with a sense of purpose; Douglas is quite touching at moments with this discovery...

I laughed out loud at many incidental details peppered throughout--a Mason trademark in is previous film work and all his plays; For instance, the concoction of yogurt and barbiturates assembled for the final meal is termed the "Exit Yogurt", and Rita's entrance in the "foreclosure scene" has her hair dolled up hilariously into a nesty mountain held in place by two gigantic pink chopsticks....

This is Mason's first full-length feature and it's an impressive achievement A truly funny black comedy is a genre that rarely succeeds this well ("Kind Hearts and Coronets" "Harold & Maude" "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" come to mind). Like the characters in his plays, Mason has drawn two people --Heaton & Rita-- who dream Big: They envision themselves functioning at a sophisticated level, completely unaware of the dysfunction bred in them that keeps them out of the game.


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