Queen of the Lot

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Queen of the Lot

After her second DUI arrest in a matter of weeks, emerging B-movie star Maggie Chase (Frederick) enters house-arrest purgatory, saddled with an ankle monitor and anxious about the career aftereffects. While her PR team tries to spin something marketable out of her legal troubles, her bad-boy lover, Dov (Rydell), brings Maggie home to meet his well-connected Hollywood family. Everyone has an angle, but only Dov's lovestruck brother, Aaron (Wyle), has the troubled talent's best interests in mind.

Writer-director Henry Jaglom (A Safe Place) is nothing if not consistent, having spent nearly 40 years churning out chatty West Coast comedies that angle for both Woody Allen's weary urbanity and old Hollywood sentiment. The indie iconoclast's latest proves to be damningly out of touch with the culture it's satirizing; having your characters worry over "Google points," as if the Internet were from a faraway land, does not make your curdled showbiz critique two decades past its sell-by date feel current. Sporting a big strawberry mane and elastic features, Frederick has a nice comedic energy. But she's miscast as a fame-hungry starlet, making Wyle's soft-eyed attentions seem misdirected rather than romantically promising. Jaglom can craft a scene and stage organic conversations, but if his saps and suckers never wander beyond a hermetic view of the real world, then so what?

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By: Eric Hynes

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