Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Intervention (opens in Cleveland August 26th at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[THE INTERVENTION opens in Cleveland on Friday August 26th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Regardless how one might feel about the often shoddy and tasteless films made by "Godfather of Gore" H. G. Lewis, the man himself was extremely savvy about the film business. One of his wisest insights on the film business, which he has stated on numerous occasions, is that for a small, independent filmmaker to be successful, they need to make the kinds of movies that the major studios either can't make, or won't make.

For Lewis in the sixties and seventies, that meant sex and gore films. If he were just getting started today, however, he'd most likely pursue a different path. The major studios now routinely show far more blood and guts in mainstream horror flicks, while the easy and legal availability of hardcore pornography makes the kind of silly nudie flicks Lewis produced obsolete. No, if he were just starting out now, he'd make a movie like Clea DuVall's THE INTERVENTION.

By Hollywood standards, the 38-year-old DuVall is no doubt considered over the hill. So, like an increasing number of actresses tired of the industry's sexism and ageism, she's taken matters into her own hands. The result of her efforts is a simple, modestly budgeted relationship comedy shot over the course of a mere 18 days. Maybe not the sort of 3-day wonder Lewis would have banged out, but by Hollywood standards that's a pretty quick shoot.

THE INTERVENTION revolves around four couples who get together ostensibly for a weekend of fun at the lake. The real reason everyone is coming together, however, is to try and convince one of the couples – Ruby (Colby Smulders) and Peter (Vincent Piazza), to get a divorce. Annie (Melanie Lynskey) is especially keen on splitting these two up, but her drinking problem may well require an intervention as well. Not to mention her relationship with Rick (David Bernon) isn't exactly perfect.

Jack (Ben Schwartz) is the least enthusiastic about Annie's plans. Having lost his wife about a year ago, he's now looking to just have fun with "baby stranger" Lola (Alia Shawkat). Lola, in turn, seems interested in having fun with Jessie (DuVall), who can't seem to bring herself to ask girlfriend Sarah (Natasha Leone) to move in with her. Not surprisingly, as the weekend progresses everyone's issues threaten to burst out. It's anyone's guess which, if any, of the couples will still be together when it's all over.

While not without moments of insight and recognition, THE INTERVENTION is a relatively lightweight affair that doesn't exactly break new ground. Like a lot of indie films, it also suffers a bit from characters a bit too quirky for their own good. But given the fact that we've just had one of the most tedious summer movie seasons of all time, filled with sequels that nobody wanted and rushed, bloated super hero epics that failed to meet expectations, this little indie comedy is sure to feel refreshing to those moviegoers looking for something a little more mature and reality-based. 2 ½ out of 4 stars.

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