Review by James Lindorf
An L.A. Minute was directed by Daniel Adams and written by Adams and Larry ‘Ratso’ Sloman, a former National Lampoon Magazine editor. The film stars Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects) as a celebrity author and Kiersey Clemons (Dope) as a streetwise performance artist. They are joined by a terrific supporting cast that includes Bob Balaban, Lyne Renee, and Jane McNeill. An L.A. Minute opens in New York and L.A. on August 24th, before rolling out nationwide.
An L.A. Minute is an attempt at a satirical take on the fickle nature of fame and how the rise and fall of a celebrity can be meteoric. When uptight jerk, Ted (Byrne), meets the avant-garde Velocity (Clemons), his world is turned on its head as she pushes him to embrace the honesty (or lack thereof) in his works.
The problems start with Adams and Sloman’s script. It lacks any of the humor that you typically associate with a work of satire. Instead of looking at how ridiculous our obsession with celebrities or the current star-making process is, we get something that just comes off as bitter and mean. That element could be coming from Adams, who may relate a little too closely with Ted. Adams suffered his own fall from grace in the form of 3 years in jail for tax fraud related to his last film, The Lightkeepers. Adams may be a changed man, and that’s why he made a movie whose essence was integrity in art.
The strength of the film is that it has likable actors giving entertaining performances. Kiersey Clemons led the way with her over the top take on the young provocateur and she actually believed in the movie enough to be listed as a producer. Unfortunately, as admirable as the actors’ efforts are, they aren’t enough to salvage the entire film. The lack of humor, the propensity to tell and not show, odd choices in music, the poor blocking and the overall look of the film just outweigh anything the performers could give us. I will say that they may have created my favorite mugging scene, so that is an accomplishment that is worth seeing.
If performances are your thing, there may be enough here to carry the film for you. However, if you prefer a more well-rounded film, you may just want to wait an L.A. minute until something better comes along.