Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dinner With Friends (2001)

Synopsis: Foodie couple hosts dinner party, close friend drops emotional turd in the punchbowl.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “When a close friend leaves his wife for another woman, whose side do you take? Is he deserting his family? Has she been sabotaging their relationship all these years? Life can be funny; but not as funny, frustrating or unexpected as simply having DINNER WITH FRIENDS.”

What Did I Learn?: 1) Apparently, a family of four can afford a beautiful home and a cottage in Martha’s Vineyard(!!) by writing freelance articles for Gourmet magazine. 2) Polenta can be substituted for white flour when you bake an almond cake.

You Might Like This Movie If: You enjoy watching dinner parties.

Really?: 1) Near the beginning, Toni Collette breaks into tears during a dinner party and informs her best friends that her husband is having an affair, and the marriage is on the rocks. Instead of ‘checking on the kids’, or beating a hasty retreat, Dennis Quaid continues to sit at the kitchen table with the ladies and even makes a blowjob joke. 2) Toni reveals that Dennis told her husband not to marry her in the first place; since the movie provides flashbacks of 12 years earlier, couldn’t they have filmed that exchange, and provided some context for the remarks?

Rating: Dinner With Friends is an intelligent, character-driven look at infidelity, and its effect on long-standing friendships. My big complaint would be that the characters didn’t sound ‘real’ – the movie is based upon a successful play, and it seemed overly wordy at times; I kept thinking: “that’s not how real people talk”. 7/10 stars.

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