Review: ‘Wirey Spindell’

"Wirey Spindell" is a teen sex comedy for the grown-up arthouse crowd. Told in a novelistic fashion, pic has some rough spots, but with proper handling and helpful reviews should be able to attract attention at indie-friendly venues.

“Wirey Spindell” is a teen sex comedy for the grown-up arthouse crowd. Told in a novelistic fashion, pic has some rough spots, but with proper handling and helpful reviews should be able to attract attention at indie-friendly venues.

Writer-director-producer Eric Schaeffer plays the title character, who tells us his basic problem is that he is a man. It’s nine days before his wedding to the beautiful and understanding Tabitha (Callie Thorne), and there’s a complication: Having won her, he’s no longer interested in her sexually. He proceeds to tell us the story of his life and how he got into this fix.

In flashbacks we see that Wirey is so sexually precocious and preoccupied, he makes Woody Allen and Philip Roth look like ascetics by comparison. In one quick sketch we learn that his interest in oral sex commenced in infancy, when he tried to lick an electrical outlet; this is accompanied by a shot of a baby flying across the room. His various misadventures also include a stint as a New York graffiti artist and his getting sent to a school in Vermont where he is ridiculed as a “flatlander” until he shares LSD with one of the school’s jocks.

Some of the bits work better than others, but it is when Wirey attends college and has a torrid affair with Samantha (Samantha Buck) that we get a sense of why he’s as screwed-up as he is. The college scenes, with Eric Mabius as Wirey, are among the best in the film. Overall, it’s the mix of sex and Schaeffer’s decidedly quirky view of life that sells the pic. Tech credits are solid, with good location work in New York and Vermont.

Wirey Spindell

Production

A WinStar Cinema release of a Five Minutes Before the Miracle production. Produced by Terence Michael, Lloyd Segan, Dolly Hall, Eric Schaeffer. Executive producers, Bruce Greenfield, Van Greenfield. Directed, written by Eric Schaeffer.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Kramer Morgenthau; editor, Mitch Stanley; music, Amanda Kravat, Peter Millrose; production designer , Mark Helmuth; costume designers, Amanda Silberstein, Bootsy Holler; sound (Dolby), Noah Vivekanand Timan, David Pastecchi; assistant director, Chris Roberts; casting, Sheila Jaffe, Georgianne Walken. Reviewed on videocassette, Boston, Sept. 8, 1999. (In Boston Film Festival.) Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Wirey Spindell - Eric Schaeffer
Wirey, age 17 - Eric Mabius
Wirey, Junior High - Devon Matthews
Wirey, age 8 - Zane Adlum
Tabitha - Callie Thorne
Samantha - Samantha Buck
Wirey's Father - John Doman
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