Saturday, 12 April 2008

The Linguini Incident

On Richard Shepard's official website it states that The Linguini Incident is a romantic comedy that is neither romantic or funny and that thankfully it is not available on DVD. He directed it at the age of 24 and pulled David Bowie, Rosanna Arquette, and Eszter Balint for the main roles. It was shot in 1991 and considered a New Wave Comedy. I would be reluctant to call this film a perfect fit but hey at 24 I was relying on my house mates to design my sets for short films.

David Bowie does a fine job in his role as a "nice bastard", and the two scheming players and restaurateurs Dante and Cecil played by Andre Gregory and Buck Henry have their characters down pat. I enjoy films with irregular moments and The Linguini Incident has plenty of them - one such moment is with Rosanna's character Lucy in the back of a cab ridden by Dante and Cecil, a major rift in the narrative is leaked to her and she hastily jumps out but just as she does so she drops a small plastic bag which being cupped up by Dante gives him the under-played line "She forgot her pickles". Brilliant stuff.

Another under-played moment is when three hardened feminist burlesque theatre radicals audition Lucy for their troupe, one radical interrupts the scene to ask for the Cranberry Juice of which is passed from one side of the table a giant bottle of Cranberry Juice. I have read into this as a thrush reference. Brilliant all three of them have thrush. That might not be the correct reasoning but heck this is cinema, and that's its point of interpretation. I could go further into what I thinking this scene is getting at but I'll leave it at that.

Another well under-played this time dynamic is that both Lucy and Eszter Balint's character Vivian have a crush on Monte (David Bowie) but each refuses to make a move on him in respect of each other's friendship so Monte suggests that if all three people like each other then logically they should just all have sex together but Vivian reasons that because all three like each other therefore they respect each other and should rationally therefore all just remain platonic. Once again brilliant scriptwriting, and well thought out too.

Another fine aspect of the film is the use of jazz as the score, a film like this would date terribly if pop songs were used. Thomas Newman did the original score, odd because he usually does quite "feel good" Oscar type movies, and this was a definite departure.

Some final things I will say I liked about The Linguini Incident is the use of bicycles for transportation around New York by the main characters, the casting of interesting minor characters, the mix between eye-sore 1980s decor and the 1920s, the unforgiving nature of the characters (Always worthwhile), and fact that we can only guess what the hell The Linguini Incident was.

Finally Bowie has been miscast in many films, especially his earlier ones. In comparison to Mick Jagger, David Bowie actually is a good actor and enjoyable to watch on screen, he has good timing and cares to add flavour to his roles - this film Bowie played his part in an excellent fashion, and I enjoyed catching his wife in the audience, the only one who put up her hand when Lucy asked the crowd whether or not they would like to see her not escape from the fish tank and drown. A tidy little in joke referring to lead actor romances and jealousy etc.

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