Jumping off the Rack
Many friends and family members often ask film critics if they've seen a good movie lately. After frowning and a long pause, I frequently find it difficult to answer that question. So it's great when a film like New Suit comes along. This biting comedy, a small independent film shot on digital video, is garnering great reviews all across the country and won the Best American Independent Feature Film award at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.
Like millions of hopefuls before him, Kevin Taylor (Jordan Bridges) has hit Hollywood with stars in his eyes and a script under his arm. Fast forward a few months and Kevin has already won and lost favor with Marianne (Marisa Coughlan), the blonde next door, and he's given up believing that anyone will ever read his precious screenplay.
Kevin takes a job working for a washed-up producer (Dan Hedaya). His duties? Reading scripts and mostly washing client's cars. He lunches daily with other such important players from the numerous production companies that line the streets of Tinseltown, and the guys dissect each other's client list like flunkies in a science class. After tiring of hearing his colleagues comment on scripts they clearly know nothing about, Kevin one-ups them. He tells them his firm is reading New Suit, a very "hot" property by Jordan Strawberry, a "hot" new writer, whose name Kevin makes up when he goes to the ice cream cart and buys strawberry ice cream from a clerk named Jordan.
As fast as the line "no screeners this year" swirls around town, everyone is soon talking about the new script. When studios, agents and producers are all scrambling to find the script and the writer -- even to the point of making up stories about them both -- Kevin tries to put the brakes on the train wreck just waiting to happen.
But no one listens, even his ex, Marianne, who is now a junior agent. She sees the momentum Kevin's lie has started as the perfect opportunity for them both to make a big score.
New Suit is not a new concept; many films have been made about the way Hollywood insiders make movies, and in fact the story, penned by Craig Sherman, is a take-off of the Emperor's New Clothes. But French director Françoise Velle delivers a charming take on this idea. New Suit is executed with good performances -- and overall, considering its low budget, it's a well-made film.
Jordan Bridges, the son of Beau Bridges, has appeared in several films, television movies and on stage. He brings just the right amount of innocence to his character and makes us want to root for him. "At his core, he's (Kevin) an optimist," said Bridges. "He believes that people can be better than they are. He wants to bring out what is good in people and he challenges them to see the truth…yet he does things that are not heroic. It's not just cut and dried."
Velle made certain the film has its own look. He wanted an overall warm tone -- similar to Chinatown -- and the result is rich and colorful. Velle also knew the importance of picking just the right crew. "I was very picky on the team that were involved in the creative process," he said. "I really wanted to find the right people, many of whom weren't used to working with such a small budget, but they all loved the script, and were in tune with the vision I had of it."
New Suit's satire works well; its characters are engaging, and the film comes across as sweetly amusing.
(Released by Trillion Entertainment and rated "R" for language, some sexuality and drug use.)