Sundance '13 Review: ASS BACKWARDS
Director: Chris Nelson
Screenwriters: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson
Cast: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Brian Geraghty
Official Synopsis: Kate and Chloe have been best friends since childhood, when they both tied for dead last in their hometown beauty pageant. Now they are all grown up and living in New York City, where Chloe works as a “girl in a box” at a nightclub and Kate is a CEO…of her own one-woman egg-donor “corporation.” Their past humiliation remains long forgotten until they receive an invitation to the pageant’s milestone anniversary celebration. The unpleasant memories come flooding back, but Kate and Chloe decide to redeem themselves by winning the elusive crown.
Think Romy and Michele's High School Reunion meets Dumb & Dumber.
Story and Direction
Bride Wars scribes/stars, June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson, write themselves into lead roles this time around for the raunchy, raucous, road trip comedy Ass Backwards. Like Harry and Lloyd, Kate and Chloe's combined cluelessness leads them on amazing misadventures. But the characters in Dumb & Dumber had a more endearing quality to them that the girls in Ass Backwards lack. Kate and Chloe's misperception of reality and their unflinching support of each other is more due to their enabled egos rather than from their innocence or ignorance. This makes them hard to like sometimes. Even though I didn't absolutely love the characters, there are so many absurd scenes that you just can't help but laugh at, and director Chris Nelson takes a couple of risky ideas that actually pay off really well. Overall it's a solid comedy, and yet another movie that shows that Women are just as capable as men at bringing down the house with laughter.
Raphael and Wilson have really built up great chemistry. Raphael feels like the more seasoned actress out of the comic duo, as she has had a wider variety of roles under her belt. I'd love to see her in more starring roles, and this should hopefully serve as the launching pad for that.
As funny as Wilson is, she has a tendency to oversell things a bit on camera, as if she's doing improv theater or stand up. Even when she was on SNL I always found her a bit distracting. But she's definitely getting better, and this is a great role for her, and you can tell she had a lot of fun with it.
Alicia Silverstone is given a small but fun role, and there are a couple of other solid performances from the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio and True Blood's Brian Geraghty.
Chances You'll See It in Theaters
This may be a little too raunchy for some of the female audience, and Raphael and Wilson aren't the most recognizable faces to male audiences just yet. But this looks and feels enough like a mainstream comedy that there's a good chance it could go wide.