It's always a bad sign when a movie references superior films about the same subject. In Ellie Parker, character actor--turned-filmmaker Scott Coffey's lame examination of the Hollywood rat race, the titles The Day of the Locust and Play It as It Lays appear on a theater marquee. You'll wish you were watching either one (or even an episode of Unscripted) instead of this drivel.
Ellie (Watts) is an Australian actor struggling to find work—and herself—in Los Angeles. She attends a bunch of auditions, bitches about the biz with fellow Aussie thespian Sam (Rigg), has a fling with wanna-be cinematographer Chris (Coffey), tells her agent (Chase) she's quitting, and suffers a nervous breakdown or two. There are numerous industry in-jokes, none of which are very funny: Chris invites Ellie to see "his friend's band," which turns out to be Dogstar, Keanu Reeves's group; Watts's real-life buddy is Nicole Kidman, and Ellie's relationship with Sam seems to mirror that friendship. It's all boring, self-involved stuff.
So why would Watts, one of contemporary cinema's most versatile and stunning stars, sign on to this project? Because she's friends with the director. After working with her in a number of films (Tank Girl, Mulholland Dr.), Coffey convinced Watts to star in his short flick, "Ellie Parker," in 2001, then incorporated most of that footage into this mind-numbing eponymous feature. But who should care about it? Probably only Coffey and his posse.—Raven Snook