If you’ve been waiting for the return of the woman-hating, stagebound Neil LaBute from ten or so years ago—well, chances are you haven’t. But he’s back anyway, with a vicious two-hander built around an escalating encounter between Fred (Stanley Tucci) and Velvet (Alice Eve), the upscale prostitute for whom he’s just left his wife.
LaBute has learned plenty in his years as a director, but in Some Velvet Morning he seems to have forgotten it all, or else didn’t have the time to put it into practice. The dialogue is the stuff of rapidly closing Off Broadway plays; the camerawork is flavorless and haphazard. Tucci hits every line like he’s about to break into a malicious tap dance, and Eve looks as if she was handed her script on the way to the set. As you know it will, their confrontation builds to the threat of physical and sexual violence, and though LaBute pulls the ripcord at the last second, it’s not enough to check the film’s catastrophic plummet.
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