Frank & Cindy

2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

A documentary for people who find Grey Gardens too compassionate, Echternkamp’s home-video portrait of his mother and stepfather has the feel of a purge. Previously excerpted on the TV version of This American Life, a story that might otherwise seem like garden-variety exploitation is, in this case, ostensibly rendered amusing by the fact that Dad once belonged to an ’80s hair band. (He supplies the film’s soundtrack; you have been warned.)

Cindy married this rock star at his peak—only to see him transform into a ne’er-do-well alcoholic who relieves himself in coffee cans and bides his time in boxers, strumming his guitar. A screeching Bette Davis to Frank’s (often) shut-in Joan Crawford, Cindy spends much of the movie expressing remorse for her mothering skills and screaming directives at Frank, who just flashes his shit-eating grin and offers to play a song. His attempts to quit drinking provide a semblance of narrative shape.

Looking out for his parents in his own way, Echternkamp dubiously tells them that they’re “solid gold” as movie characters. But Frank & Cindy frequently plays like a glib video résumé, especially when Echternkamp—a TV commercial actor looking for work—shows off his dancing skills. You can’t really blame him: With parents this fucked up, he’s entitled to milk their bickering for cash. That doesn’t mean we have to watch, though.



Release details

Cast and crew

G.J. Echternkamp
You may also like