Executive producer, James Delliquanti.

Executive producer, James Delliquanti.

Directed, written by Mary Kuryla, based on her short story. Camera (color), Arturo Smith; editors, Joe D’Augustine, Gail Yasunaga; music, Joe Gore, Ralph Carney; production designer, Macie Vener; associate producer, Narween Otto. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 17, 1999. (Also in Rotterdam Film Festival.) Running time: 84 MIN.

With: Jacqueline McKenzie, Aida Turturro, John Carroll Lynch, Jacob Chase, Jerry Adler, Robert Wisdom, Justin Pierce, John Heard, Mink.

Buried in ambitious intentions, “Freak Weather” is an audacious yet distasteful debacle that squanders terrific Aussie thesp Jacqueline McKenzie (“Romper Stomper,” “Deep Blue Sea”) as an abused g.f. who debases herself in a vain attempt to please her offscreen paramour. Forecast for this desultory item is gloomy indeed, with prospects of playoff action as freaky as the climactic SoCal snowfall from which title is derived.

Thrown out of her dilapidated bungalow by tetchy b.f. Jimmy, potty-mouthed Penny (McKenzie) drives around in a rusted-out SUV, hoping to please Jimmy by halfheartedly trying — believe it or not — to kill her dog (Mink) and son (Jacob Chase). Aida Turturro and John Heard barely register in underwritten perfs as zonked-out nurse and cryptic doc, with John Carroll Lynch (Drew Carey’s cross-dressing TV bro) better as Penny’s blue-collar pickup. Fiction writer and debuting helmer Mary Kuryla is clearly after a Big Statement on abuse and strength of character, but falls short by creating a self-destructive monster in lieu of a sympatheticprotagonist. Pro tech credits suffuse L.A. with a dirty orange glow and punctuate scenes with blasts of appropriately abrasive thrash metal.

Freak Weather

Production

A Sparring Partners I presentation of an HKM Films/Blurco production. (International sales: Freak Films, Los Angeles.) Produced by Andrea Sperling, Alexis Magnagni-Seely.
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