The House of Yes (1997)

Judging only by his most recent output (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, Just Like Heaven), I thought Mark Waters could do no wrong. Watching Head Over Heels disabused me of that particular illusion; House of Yes, then, is sort of okay, maybe even pretty good, but not brilliant.

Adapted from a stage play - and, well, it shows - House of Yes is the story of one particularly weird and wacky incestuous family, and how the introduction of an outsider blows everything straight to Hell. The family's only daughter has recently been released from an insane asylum (probably a little too early) and has only two interests in life: Jackie Onassis, whom she emulates to the point of only answering to "Jackie O"; and her twin brother, Marty. When Marty brings home his fiancée for Thanksgiving, Jackie flies into a jealous rage, with deadly consequences...

The House of Yes is interestingly cast. Parker Posey is perfect as Jackie; it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, really. She's got that slightly off-kilter, quirky edge to her that makes it entirely easy to believe she's unhinged. Freddie Prinze Jnr as the clueless, slightly moronic younger brother is also well cast; he can just about manage to pull off 'naive and slightly stupid'. And Geneviève Bujold is an inspired choice as the overprotective mother. It's the young couple at the centre of the narrative who aren't especially great or memorable. Tori Spelling as the fiancée could really have been anyone; she's not particularly good, nor particularly bad, she's just there as the normal foil for all the crazy characters. And the same goes for Josh Hamilton, though he has a slightly more meaty role. They're just okay: generic, reasonably attractive people, saying words.

Other than that, the rest of the film is, well, it's fine. All the technical aspects are in place, the camera's pointing in the right direction, the dialogue is... exhausting, in an overly dramatic way that sort of somehow manages to work, once you've got into the flow of it, and the film's, you know, fine.

Mean Girls it ain't, though.

IMDB link

No comments: