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Thursday, November 6, 2014

STANDING STILL -- movie review by Porfle

(NOTE: This review originally appeared online at in 2007.)

Matthew Cole Weiss' STANDING STILL (2005) is kind of like THE BIG CHILL with a younger set of friends reuniting after a shorter period of time and with less dramatic results. In the earlier film, the friends were reunited to attend the funeral of one of their group; here, they come together for the weekend when two of them decide to get married. Which, depending on how you look at it, could be viewed as pretty much the same thing.

Mikey (Adam Garcia) is the condemned man, err, groom; he's marrying Elise (Amy Adams, THE MASTER, SUNSHINE CLEANING) and seems so irrationally happy about it that it perplexes his marriage-shy friend Rich (Aaron Stanford, "Pyro" of X-MEN:THE LAST STAND), whose girlfriend Sam (Melissa Sagemiller) is nagging him to pop the question himself.

Also converging upon Mikey and Elise's house for the big wedding weekend are old pals Quentin (Tom Hanks' son Colin, who played Carl Denham's assistant Preston in the KING KONG remake), a cocky, party-animal theatrical agent; Lana (Mena Suvari), an emotional wreck who is devastated by her poodle's bad haircut because she can't handle such a "major life change"; "Pockets" (Jon Abrahams), a UFC talent scout who still carries a torch for Lana and keeps a variety of stuff in his pockets worthy of Harpo Marx; and Elise's college roommate Jennifer (Lauren German, HOSTEL PART II, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE remake), a Hollywood-variety lipstick lesbian who still carries a torch for Elise but sets her sights on Lana in the meantime. Why, it's a powderkeg of dramatic and comedic entanglements just waiting to explode! Or at least snap, crackle, and pop.

James Van Der Beek lightens things up considerably as their movie-star friend Simon, a good-natured stud who doesn't have a lot going on upstairs (he's excited about his upcoming movie project, a Western he plans to do unscripted and whacked-out on peyote).

The funniest character, though, is Ethan Embry (VEGAS VACATION's "Rusty Griswold") as Donavan Parker, a smarmy, ultra-chipper TV huckster with his own line of self-help tapes for fat kids who can't spell called "Power Time!", who weasels his way into a wedding invitation because he's got the hots for Lana. I like the scene where Donavan and Simon are sitting on the couch watching a "Power Time!" infomercial--Donavan's all hyper and bursting with pride at the insanely ridiculous display, while Simon looks at it with a "WTF is this?" expression.

I didn't know what to make of this movie at first; at times it's the classic chick flick, all obsessed with marriage and relationships and whatever, while the next minute it's like a milder version of BACHELOR PARTY (which starred Colin Hanks' dad in his salad days), with booze and weed and lap dances and other fun stuff.

The guys go to a strip club in Vegas, courtesy of Simon's private jet, while the gals stay home and enjoy the services of a pizza delivery guy who's really a male stripper. (And of course when they shower the bride-to-be with gifts, one of them is a huge, floppy dildo--that's a given.)

There's the serious "let's-get-married" business for the girls, and T & A, party-time antics for the guys. Are scriptwriters Matthew Perniciaro and Timm Sharp a couple of schizos, or what? I guess this is a movie for couples, meaning that the guys who are forced to watch it by their wives or girlfriends will at least be partially entertained by it, which is damned thoughtful of old Matt and Timm.

I was partially entertained, despite the film's "marriage is good for you!" theme. The ensemble cast is good, and there are enough semi-interesting subplots to keep things moving along. One of those old reliable actors with a familiar face, Xander Berkeley (John Connor's milk-drinking stepdad in T2), shows up as Mikey's estranged father to add some extra drama to the proceedings. Some bare boobies also show up here and there to add some, uhh, boobage, which is always a plus, and there's even a little girl-girl action going on in Jennifer's bedroom.

The late arrival of Elise's kid sister, Sarah (Britney Spears lookalike Marnette Patterson) turns interesting when Quentin has sex with her and then finds out the next morning that, to quote Rick James, "she was only seventeen--seventeen--but she was SEX-eh!" And there are some good songs on the soundtrack by the likes of Squeeze, BTO, and Joan Jett.

All in all, I kinda liked STANDING STILL and wouldn't advise against your giving it a spin sometime, especially if you and that "special someone" want to watch something innocuous together. And it knows when to end, too--the pay-off of all these intertwining story elements is nothing terribly cathartic, but it's pleasant enough, and then BOOM! Fade-out. Wedding photos. Credit crawl. It doesn't wear out its welcome, and leaves you feeling--ehh--partially entertained.

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