Review: ‘True Rights’

Tabloid newsmagazines, self-absorbed Hollywood wannabes and several hot-button political issues all get the once-over in writer-director Meg Thayer's "True Rights," a limp, monotonous "mockumentary" that will likely seem pointed only to auds who find novel its depiction of aspiring producers who willingly exploit the pain and suffering of others for their own gain. For others, pic is a wasteland of energy (there's nary a scene that doesn't involve at least one actor screaming at the top of his or her lungs) whose uniformly despicable characters are a fast turn-off.

Tabloid newsmagazines, self-absorbed Hollywood wannabes and several hot-button political issues all get the once-over in writer-director Meg Thayer’s “True Rights,” a limp, monotonous “mockumentary” that will likely seem pointed only to auds who find novel its depiction of aspiring producers who willingly exploit the pain and suffering of others for their own gain. For others, pic is a wasteland of energy (there’s nary a scene that doesn’t involve at least one actor screaming at the top of his or her lungs) whose uniformly despicable characters are a fast turn-off.

Pic’s title comes from the way its two protagonists (Claudia Christian, Tom Heard) attempt to secure personal story rights from convicted serial killers, right-wing militiamen, et al., in the hopes of then selling those rights to Hollywood. A pair of film school videographers (Richard Lee Jackson, John Wickersham) tag along to document their exploits, often getting caught up in the action themselves. Self-indulgent pic brightens only when Jack Betts is on screen as the suicidal screen icon who asks the crew to record his own death, even if it’s all too little too late to make much of a difference.

True Rights

Production

An Intellifilm presentation in association with Soundelux Entertainment Group. Produced by Andrew Trapani, Leon Gladstone, Meg Thayer. Executive producers, Christopher T. Dahl, Jan Wieringa, Kes Sullivan, Jeff M. Zacha, Wylie Stateman, Debi Lewis. Co-executive producer, Jeff Edell. Co-producers, Annie Sandler, Helmut Kobler. Directed, written by Meg Thayer.

Crew

Camera (Color), David Darby; editor, Ann Trulove; costume designer, Elena Baranova; sound (Dolby Digital), James H. Coburn IV. Reviewed at Dances With Films Film Festival, West Hollywood, June 26, 2000. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Claudia Christian, Richard Lee Jackson, Tom Heard, Jack Betts, John Wickersham, Jonathan Jackson, Tony Monziatti.
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