Producers: Precious Chong, Lex Emanuel, Alex Essoe, Zach Gayne, Josh Mandel, Kyra Rogers and Ben Umstead Director: Zach Gayne Screenplay: Precious Chong and Alex Essoe Cast: Alex Essoe, Precious Chong, Kris Siddiqi, Anthony Matthew, Christopher Roche, Courtney Gayne, Lexi Gayne and Jeanie Celleja Distributor: Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment
A viewer looking for a movie that’s basically a prolonged comic catfight—if there should be anyone like that—is directed to Zach Gayne’s directorial debut, which presumably wants to say something about the fragility of female solidarity but winds up as nothing more than a violent farce based on that old standby, a romantic triangle, though in this instance one of the players is clearly demented.
Co-written by its stars, “Homewrecker” begins by introducing Michelle (Alex Essoe) and Lynda (Precious Chong) at an exercise class. Dark-haired, married Michelle is a serious-minded interior decorator and blonde Lynda a flightier motor-mouth who follows her into a coffee bar where she opens her laptop to work. But Lynda won’t have it; chattering on, she tells Michelle, always looking for a job, that she’s in the market to have her house redone, and invites her to drive there with her to check out the space.
Once they get there, however, it quickly becomes clear that Lynda’s bonkers. She rambles on about her high school days, insists that the two play a video game involving “party hunks,” and asks intrusive questions about Michelle’s home life. When Michelle tries to leave, Lynda will have none of it, resorting to force to keep her captive. It will eventually be revealed why with the arrival of her boyfriend (Kris Siddiqi).
Most of the running-time is devoted to repeated attempts by Michelle to escape, only to be foiled each time and treated ever more brutally. The recurrent battles are, one supposes, meant to be amusing, but they’re too nasty to be amusing while not well-enough choreographed or shot (by Delaney Siren) to be genuinely compelling. The repetitiveness of it all is exacerbated by the scattershot editing (by Gayne and Gary Chan), which makes the string of episodes boring as well Despite running well under ninety minutes, the picture drags badly, despite the efforts of composer Dough Martsch to perk it up.
There’s some modest compensation in the garish look of the movie, in which Chong (as art director) seems to have played a prominent role, but it doesn’t make up for her screechy, one-note on-screen performance. Essoe is more subdued as the victimized Michelle, but she can’t make the character seem anything less than a dippy dumbbell. “Homewrecker” is essentially a two-hander, though Kris Siddiqi shows up toward the close to prove that the women don’t hold a monopoly on mediocre acting.
Though it’s proverbially said that brevity is the soul of wit, the fact that “Homewrecker” is short doesn’t keep it from being silly, unpleasant and dull.