Never heard of "Splendor?"
It's no surprise. This is a really bad movie, though it features a good
cast and good production values.
It's the "ultra
hip" (according to the blurb) story of Veronica (Kathleen Robertson)
and her pair of loves (Johnathon Schaech and Matt Kesslar) and their life
together, apart, and together again.
Veronica meets both
Abel and Zed on the same night and ends up falling in love with both of
them - and living in bliss with them, too. It's a feminist sexual fantasy
heaven, with two men at her beck and call and no responsibility at all.
Until she gets pregnant,
at which time she's forced to think long and hard about life and her responsibilities
to her baby. This leads her to leaving the guys and moving in (doesn't
anyone just date any more?) with Ernest, a TV director who's the nicest
and more responsible character in the film. He offers her everything for
which a person could want: love, security, and a stable environment in
which to raise her child, and when he asks her to marry him it appears
Veronica's life is about to be complete.
But Abel and Zed refuse
to take Veronica's defection laying down and, like Dustin Hoffman in "The
Graduate," crash her wedding to proclaim their undying love.
If you've made it
through this much of the movie you'll find a happily convenient ending
and can shut off the player comfortable in the knowledge that Veronica,
Abel and Zed have set up a wonderfully warm "alternate lifestyle"
family that's just one more lifestyle choice and should therefore be embraced.
Maybe it's just me,
but I thought "Splendor" was one of the worst movies I've seen
in a while. Robertson is sexy and intelligent and the rest of the cast
turn in good performances, but who cares?
The movie is all about
avoiding decisions, responsibility and consequences and the fact it has
a happy ending doesn't change the fact that in a believable movie one
can't merely wave ones' hand and have everything work out. Even in Disney
cartoons the heroes still have to work for their reward, and are changed
for the better by the time the story wraps up, but Veronica just screws
her way to happiness and when life screws her back he finds someone else
to screw, literally and figuratively, until her gratification happily
and conveniently comes around again.
Oh well,at least the
widescreen DVD looks and sounds good. Extras are confined to talent files,
trailers, chapter stops, and liner blurbs that make the movie sound like
an old fashioned "screwball comedy" in the grand Hollywood tradition.
My advice for those
wishing to see a real screwball comedy is to watch "There's
Something About Mary," or, better, still "What's Up Doc?"
(which, unfortunately, isn't out on DVD yet) or the screwball comedies
'Cause Splendor is
anything but splendid.
Splendor, from Columbia
Tristar Home Video
approx. 93 excruciating minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Kathleen Robertson, Johnathon Schaech, Matt Keeslar, Kelly Macdonald,
Produced by Damian Jones, Graham Broadbent, Gregg Araki,
Written and Directed by Gregg Araki
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