Bollywood and Vine

At the beginning of Bollywood and Vine, a "where are they now" type show spotlighting actress Delilah Leigh plays. The first thing one notices is that Leigh looks kind of strange. The second thing one notices is that in one of the scenes, a crewmember is seen clearly in a mirror, holding the boom and backing out of picture quickly. The old Leigh movies are intentionally campy, so it's not clear if this was done on purpose or not. The point is to show that Leigh once made some goofy movies, and faded out of the picture. This was not the case internationally. In Bollywood, her movies were huge hits. Bhuvan Bannerji (Jamey Schrick) is a huge fan, and he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in film. The closest he got to so far was driving a bus on a tour that stops in front of celebrity homes. Bannerji always stops in front of Leigh's home. Leigh never comes out, and his tourists are always baffled as to who she is.

Bollywood and Vine suffers from an acute case of schizophrenia. There are probably three or four movies contained within, each fighting for primacy. The result is jumbled, leaving no coherent sense of theming to the film. Leigh (Skye Aubrey, The Emergency Ward) is aging nicely, living happily at home with her son Devin (J.R. Jones). She has a hankering to get back into Hollywood, but nobody wants an old actress. Devin is gay, and looking for the right man. In comes Bannerji, who writes a script specifically for Leigh. Of course it is horrible, and Leigh recognizes this immediately. Lately, Devin is prone to dressing up in his mother's old clothes, looking like she did decades ago (Jones is the one playing Leigh in the old movies), so when Bannerji comes calling, he believes that Devin is Delilah. This is fine with her, because she doesn't want the attention and thinks the script is junk. She does believe that Bannerji may be right for Devin. Devin is smitten with Bannerji, and continues the charade by expressing interest in the film.

The three decide to get moving on production. Delilah works with Bannerji to get the script into filmable condition, and Devin slowly makes his advances. This is probably the weakest element of the film. It really reflects badly on Bannerji's intelligence when he sees Devin and believes he is Delilah. Remember, the movies he loved her in are decades old. How is it that he does not notice that she still looks the same? Of the three main actors, Jones is the weakest. Edward Jordan (The Original Cast Album), who wrote and co-directed Bollywood and Vine with Donald Farmer (Miss Maniac, Deadly Memories) portray Devin as one of those flamboyant gay men. It's almost offensive, but not quite. The script aims for high camp, especially as the trio gets further into their production. Things get worse when they take a bunch of hostages (yes, it makes sense within the story). The problem is that the comedy, meant to be in the screwball vein, is just not that funny.

The most poignant elements barely shine through, and this is the joy that Delilah receives from the art of filmmaking. Aubrey does a nice job with her character, when not asked to participate in the comedy (at one point she kidnaps Bannerji and ties him up). Jordan and Farmer chose her because she has a career similar to Leigh in that she used to do a lot of stuff, but has been inactive for a while. The Bollywood connection is tenuous. Yes, Bannerji is Indian, but otherwise, there doesn't seem to be a point. The script is earnest, and the stars give earnest performances, but the idea just does not click.

Gerf Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Not Rated but contains language and some mature themes, probably a PG-13 or R.

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