Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kudrow Goes Kabluey

On a whim a couple of days back, I accompanied Rob to see Kabluey. It was remarkably easy to relate to the sad sack awkward main character who couldn't quite get his crap together because that very day I had stupidly fumbled an opportunity to see Vicky Christina Barcelona (you know that hurt me in my tender places) and Hamlet 2 also slipped through the cracks. I'm so disorganized!

Anyway, Kabluey is a no-budget indie about a war bride (Lisa Kudrow) whose husband has been in Iraq for way too long. She can't manage single motherhood and two unruly boys. Her estranged brother- in-law (writer/director Scott Pendregrast) shows up to help. Only he isn't much help. There's some inspired slapstick (involving the job he gets as a giant blue corporate mascot) a 'where ya been?' cameo (Teri Garr) and a dependably wicked supporting spin from Christine Taylor (aka "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" and Mrs. Ben Stiller). Though Kabluey is almost relentlessly downbeat at its core there's quite a few laughs to be had within the miserabilism.

Kabluey B: It might be hard to catch in theaters due to the very limited release but worth a rental once it arrives on DVD

Here's the trailer below and I've paired it with the classic "Smelly Cat" from Friends just for fun.

Which brings us to Lisa Kudrow. Her film career has been ...odd. Everyone loved her on Friends as ditzy bohemian Phoebe. Yet towards its last seasons Phoebe got much bitchier and less loveable and Kudrow's post Friends career characters have had a startling underlay of anger to them. I'm not talking about the enjoyable vicious comic diva but rather the unhappy woman variety of bitchery.

Now some actors naturally project different persona and read different from small to large screen but I think it's worth noting. But I can't think of an actress who reads more intriguingly disagreeable than Kudrow apart from maybe Anne Heche at her prime. This isn't to say that Kudrow isn't a valuable screen actor. I haven't seen her recent cancelled television series The Comeback but she was absolutely terrific as the bitter sister-in-law in The Opposite of Sex (1998, robbed of an Oscar nomination). She did fairly complex engaging work as the bitter stepsister in Happy Endings holding her own in scenes opposite a never-better Maggie Gyllenhaal (which is saying a lot). And here again she does good work as a bitter sister-in-law.

But all this bitterness and sisterhood. What is going on here?


Anonymous said...

she is the one to go to for bitchy sister in laws or maybe she is bitch in real life.

i re watched her the opposite of sex perf recently and discovered much tom y horror after having her in support for 10 years that her roel is really the lead and ricci is support what thinks you nat - and who would your 98 top 5 supp actresses be i wonder -


kimberley elise
lisa kudrow
patricia clarkson
kathy bates
rachel grifftihs

Adam said...

See The Comeback ASAP! Her performance is perfection and the show surrounding her lives up to that. She lives and breathes Valerie Cherish and it's such a classic.

Unknown said...

it doesn't get more actressexual than "the comeback." kudrow's valerie cherish was funny, frightening, desperate and vulnerable. I think most viewers were turned off by the show's honesty -- it's surely not an easy watch, but it's so very rewarding.

Anonymous said...

echoing the comments of others, please go see the Comback, if you like the Office or 30 Rock!! Personally, I think the character Valerie Cherish is complex, funny, and bitchy all rolled into one. I was so sad to see it cancelled after one season:(
I really don't know about her film career though, who do you think she should work with to explore her potential?

Anonymous said...

Aren't you going to give us a hint on your first impressions on VCB?

It's all about sharing, isn't it? ;)


Anonymous said...

'The Comeback' is genius, and Kudrow richly deserved that post-cancellation Emmy nomination she received for her performance. Sheer brilliance. Now if only Anne Heche could have garnered the same respect from her acting peers for the unceremoniously dumped 'Men in Trees'. (Still smarting over that one!)


Anonymous said...

I love Teri Garr but had the same reaction to her in this film (OMG, she's put on a LOT of weight!) that I did to Candace Bergen in S&TC: The Movie.

P.S. Why doesn't Christine Taylor get more work? :-( She's almost always a welcome screen presence.


iggy --i didn't get to see VCB. as stated i fumbled my opportunity.

Cinesnatch said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest avoiding "The Comeback." It was good, but from your post, it sounds like you can only handle so much bitterness. I can't think of anything more bitter that Kudrow has done than "The Comeback." Good, but absolutely painful. Maybe it's because I live in L.A. and it hits too close to home. Sometimes, I prefer not to watch something, regardless of the quality.

What I loved about her in Happy Endings is she was going for a truth and she was so determined and honest. She was so lovely to watch. Her and Gyllenhaal were AMAZING!

Cinesnatch said...

I forgot to mention and a friend and I went to go see a Q&A with her at the Groundlings. You talk about the bitterness in her characters ... we both agreed that she came across as very unhappy/dry. They could have easily been a misreading of her exterior, but if you consider the parts she chooses, it's just a bit unsettling at times. That's another reason why I have issues her "Comeback."

Marshall said...

That movie looks bizarre and possibly amazing. Conchatta Ferrell is one of the true treasures in film. Jeffrey Dean Morgan- how did a movie star completely sneak up on us?


marshall --it definitely has its moments. Original and funny

Colin Low said...

Scary. That photo of Lisa Kudrow reminds me of Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise/Sunset. Maybe they should play mother/daughter in a neurotic talkfight.

Glenn Dunks said...

It's so sad that Jennifer Aniston is still the bigger star when Kudrow was always recognised as the most talented Friend.

Colin Low said...

Well, Kudrow wasn't married to Brad Pitt. It isn't like we don't know how rare it is for celebrity and talent to converge.

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