New Suit

New Suit bears a striking resemblance to Pipe Dream, another recent film. Few people have heard of both, and fewer people have seen them. Both are independent films that satirize the Hollywood and the filmmaking process through either a fake movie or script. For New Suit, it is a red-hot spec script by new writer Jordan Strawberry. In reality, Strawberry is fictional, made up by frustrated screenwriter Kevin Taylor (Jordan Bridges, Happy Campers, Frequency). Taylor came to Hollywood to become a screenwriter, only to find that he couldn't submit a screenplay without an agent, and he couldn't get an agent without a referral from another agent. He took a job working for insane producer Muster Hansau (Dan Hedaya, Swimfan, Mulholland Dr.). Working as a story editor for a year and a half sapped the creativity out of him.

First, Bridges is apparently the spawn of some nefarious experiment to combine Fred Savage (Austin Powers in Goldmember) and Nicholas Brendan (Psycho Beach Party). But he does manage to have an innocent quality about him, which serves Kevin well. Kevin is one of the few nice, honest people in Hollywood, and he is sick of listening to his friends gush or trash scripts they obviously haven't read, so he invents Strawberry's The New Suit as a joke. He wins when his friends pretend to know the script well, but his joke snowballs into a life of its own. It soon becomes the hottest property in town, and agents everywhere are falling over each other to find Strawberry. The entire affair dumbfounds Kevin, who hears a different synopsis of The New Suit every time he talks to somebody.

His ex-girlfriend Marianne (Marisa Coughlan, Pumpkin, Freddy Got Fingered) swindles her way into the proceedings by pretending to be Strawberry's agent. So while Kevin is uncomfortable with the life his lie now has, Marianne wants to milk it for as much money as possible. Craig Sherman's script (his first...hmm, possibly autobiographical) veers strangely between a tone that is extremely acerbic and one that tries to be farcical. It's a little too bitter to be funny, and yet tries not to take itself too seriously. The combination never quite works under Francois Velle's (Bitumes, Comme des Rois). In order to make the film funny, Sherman and Velle must (hopefully) exaggerate the vapidity and idiocy of the Hollywood machine, but it goes to the point that some of the people seem much too stupid.

So while the script may not be that great, the acting is nice. And surprisingly not from Coughlan or Chambers. The good performances are the supporting characters, beginning with Hedaya. Hedaya has these psycho eyebrows that serve him sell, especially when he plays a jerk like he does here. He doesn't appear on screen much, but when he does, he's a complete psycho. Putting him on screen more would ruin the effect. Also good is Heather Donahue (Boys and Girls, Seven and a Match), who plays a much harried assistant that works for Hansau. The best performance comes from Benito Martinez (Ballistic, My Family, Mi Familia) who plays Juan, Hansau's assistant. Juan is also an aspiring screenwriter, who, unlike Kevin has not lost his sense of creativity. His scripts may not be that good (although he doesn't know it), but he still has an amazingly sunny disposition and writes (dictates) incessantly.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Rated R for language, some sexuality, and drug use.

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