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Rated 3 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Writers' Schlock
by Betty Jo Tucker

What a great idea for a movie! In Authors Anonymous, a group of unpublished authors get together to help each other with their writing, but the one member they think least likely to be published just happens to obtain an agent and a book deal before anyone else. Watching these jealous individuals react to this situation should be highly entertaining indeed. Unfortunately, filmmakers use a fake documentary style to tell the story -- and that doesn’t work well here. Don’t expect anything close to a Christopher Guest mockumentary like Best in Show or Waiting for Guffman.

Upon first meeting the characters, we feel something really funny will be happening during the film. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each of the players comes across as a one-note stereotype with the same kind of behavior going on in practically every scene. It’s not long before they all become irritating instead of amusing. Granted, Chris Klein (Election) maintains an endearing quality the longest. He portrays Henry, the “documentary” narrator who’s very serious about his writing. Too bad he develops a crush on cutie pie Hannah (Kaley Cuoco/Picture Perfect), the lucky group member with an agent. Still, we can’t help hoping Henry will win this girl, even though she’s a manipulator and not nearly as innocent or dumb as she wants everyone to believe. Hannah says she doesn’t have a favorite author, can’t think of Jane Austen’s last name and depends on her mother to answer these “hard” questions for her.

The other members of the group include: Alan Mooney (Dylan Walsh/The Stepfather), who started the group to make his snobbish wife Colette (Teri Polo/Meet the Parents) happy; William Bruce (Jonathan Bennett/Mean Girls), a lazy Charles Bukowski fan; and John K. Butzin (Dennis Farina/Big Trouble), who thinks he’s the next Tom Clancy.

Directed by Ellie Kanner (For the Love of Money) from a screenplay by David Congalton, Authors Anonymous contains a couple of humorous scenes involving the character played by the late great Dennis Farina as he explores self-publishing, ebooks, and book signings. Because I’m also an author, that part of the film definitely rang a bell with me -- and made me laugh. I wish the rest of this comedy lived up to the full potential of its original concept.   

(Released by Screen Media Films and rated “PG-13” for some suggestive material.)

For more information about Authors Anonymous, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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