Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Authors Anonymous

As you might expect, I'm a sucker for movies about writers. This one is a mockumentary about a small critique group of unpublished authors and what happens among them when one of their number, a rather clueless young woman, unexpectedly hits it big, getting an agent, selling her novel, and getting a movie deal all in a short period of time. Not surprisingly, the others don't take it that well.

Other than a couple of minor soap operatic subplots, that's really all that happens in this movie, which makes for a rather slow pace. And like a lot of other indie "comedies", AUTHORS ANONYMOUS just isn't very funny most of the time. To be fair, though, there were a few laugh-out-loud moments for me, although it was painful laughter generated by things like a disastrous book signing, the sort of misery many of us can relate to. There are a few times when the film indulges in the usual Hollywood stereotypes about writers (which are almost always wrong), but for the most part it rings pretty true.

When I heard about this movie, I questioned the casting of Kaley Cuoco as a writer, but she does a good job. Her character here isn't that far from the one she plays on THE BIG BANG THEORY, earnest, pretty (and not above trading on her looks to get ahead), and smart in her own way. Chris Klein plays a jock-turned-intellectual and gets that right, too. My favorite character, though, is the late Dennis Farina's John K. Butzin, a would-be thriller writer whose hero is Tom Clancy. He's sad and funny at the same time as he falls victim to a sleazy vanity publisher. (Although e-books are mentioned, this movie seems to have been written before the e-book boom of the past few years. Everything centers around traditional publishing.)

Overall, AUTHORS ANONYMOUS is one of those movies that's enjoyable enough, despite a nagging feeling that it should have been better. If you're a writer, it's certainly worth watching, although you may wince as much as you laugh.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Never heard of this one before. Will look for it.