knots

knots

2004
Directed: Greg Lombardo
Written: Greg Lombardo and Neil Turitz

Well, I've waited my whole filmgoing life to hear Annabeth Gish yelling at the top of her lungs "I'm a lesbian!!", but apart from that moment of pure unadulterated bliss, there really wasn't a heck of a lot more to recommend about Knots.

What feels a little different about this film is that it's kind of a Sex and the City for men. Three guys, Dave, Jake and Cal, are best friends. Dave is married to Greta (Annabeth Gish, who despite looking freakishly gorgeous as usual, pretty much sleepwalks her way through this film), while Cal has been living with Emily (Tara Reid) for about five years, but cheats on her constantly.

Jake is perennially single and still pretty sore at Cal because three weeks before he has apparently slept with Jake's date at a party. Dave and Greta are going through a crisis after only two years of marriage, and Cal is an immature little brat who doesn't know how to commit. Dave and Jake meet Lily in a bar, and Jake asks her to double-date with Dave and Greta.

Two days after the double-date, Dave comes home to find Greta in bed with Lily, who is completely unrepentent and in fact seems to enjoy the chaos she's created. Greta is having an "identity crisis", and Lily has simply helped her to try and figure out her true self. Dave gets all twisted up about it and confronts Lily at her office, where they wind up having sex on Lily's desk.

Meanwhile Jake coincidentally meets Emily at a bar and they strike up a conversation. (I found it difficult to believe that if Jake and Cal are friends that Jake would never have even seen a picture of Emily, but I digress.) Jake blurts out his sad story about his friend screwing his date at a party. After a while Emily puts two and two together, realises Jake is talking about Cal, and runs off to confront him.

The rest of the film follows the tangled web of relationships and sex and odd coincidences that always happens in these films. It is actually a shame that the writers decided to tell almost the entire film from the guy's perspective, because I think by mixing it up a little they could have made something more interesting. They also needed to not be so damn prudish about sex. A little more heat would have spiced things up. Unfortunately, since you get an M rating in the USA for just saying the word "lesbian", I guess a kiss or two would have sent it right over the top.

Greta's "realisation" that she's a lesbian is actually priceless. You hear stories about women having their first sexual experiences with women and suddenly seeing the light. Greta and Dave have awesome sex after a fight, which Dave mistakenly thinks is make-up sex. While he's lying there proclaiming how great it is, Greta has come to the truth at last, and whips the legs right out from under him. Poor Dave, it is a humiliating moment and Scott Cohen plays him beautifully, fractured ego and all. Dave is not that much of a stretch actually from Cohen's character Josh in Kissing Jessica Stein, except perhaps a bit less sarcastic and more slapstick.

Lombardo was after that quick-talking, witty, drawing-room comedy style of the thirties and forties, mixed up a little with the self-referential sexual politics and neuroses of a Woody Allen film. Mix that with the Shakespearian Puck-like Lily whose shenanigans first harm and then magically heal our group of lovers, and you have quite a range of influences at work here. Unfortunately it also suffers from what I call "cut to" syndrome. Whenever anything remotely interesting or heated or sexy starts happening, the film cuts to the bit where they're breathing heavily and it is all over. The straight couples get to kiss, but the lesbians don't. What a wonderfully consistent world we live in.

Once the screwball elements start happening, and they (by the very nature of the genre) start literally tripping over each other to see who can make a bigger fool of themselves, the film starts to gather some much-needed momentum. Though everything is wrapped up too neatly within the last twenty minutes of the film.

How did these mostly B-List actors get roped into such an awful script? If this was one of those "money" movies that the actors obviously made some cash from despite how crap it was, I would maybe understand. But no, it's obvious that nobody made any money here. Perhaps all these actors knew the director and appeared as a favour? It certainly has that "let's make it up as we go along" feel of a brazen, indie comedy, but without the talented, quirky script that needs to underlie such efforts.

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