The German-produced “Quiet Days in Hollywood” is an omnibus showcase for young U.S. talent, acting in minidramas set in L.A. Stories and thesping are of variable quality, though German-born helmer Josef Rusnak, who also scripted, has a few twists to add to some of the tales. The freshness of the cast should be a big selling point outside of Germany, where Warner Bros. is releasing.
In one story, an attractive young girl (Meta Golding) gets involved with a guy who carries a gun in his glove compartment. Scared of violence, she leaves him minutes before he falls victim to a drive-by killing. Later, working as a waitress in an upscale bistro, she falls for a sob story from a hysteria-prone yuppie lawyer (Chad Lowe) who just lost a big case. They tryst quickly in the restroom, but the next day he ignores her, much to her humiliation.
It turns out the cruel, insensitive fellow is having an affair with his boss’ sexy young wife (Natasha Gregson Wagner). In a cynical, protracted conversation in a fancy desert villa, the wife and her husband (Bill Cusack) shoot barbed comments about each other’s lovers. These under-30 millionaires are as irritating as they are pretty and contrived.
In another story, a young actor (likable Peter Dobson) who just won an Oscar spends a tormented night fighting with his lover (intense Stephen Mailer), a junky and bitter wannabe thesp who promptly bets the statuette on a pool game. He doesn’t survive the night, and the famous actor winds up in bed with a warm, fun-loving teenage hooker (female) who convinces him he may not be gay after all. The “Pretty Woman” parallel is excruciating and just as unbelievable as the original.
Rusnak focuses on the performances of his young cast, not all of whom are able to climb above the unconvincing, often stilted dialogue and coincidence-laden plot. On the plus side, his stories are just non-American enough to offer a fresh view of an over-filmed town.
Tech credits are good, giving pic a modern look. Ambitious cross-editing between scenes attempts to jazz up the script when it flags, while Harald Kloser’s driving score injects some energy.