Second feature from Tony Markes is the result of the notorious "Who Wants to Be a Movie Star?" project, in which pic was financed by auctioning off exec producer credits and most acting parts online, with others given to winners of a promotional tie-in. SAG was none too happy about this, but film is better than many similarly low-budget indies.

Second feature from director Tony Markes is the result of the notorious “Who Wants to Be a Movie Star?” project, in which pic was financed by auctioning off exec producer credits and most acting parts online, with others given to winners of a promotional tie-in. SAG was none too happy about this, but — surprisingly, given its dubious pedigree –film is better than many similarly low-budget indies. Even exploiting its odd backstory, it’s unlikely to draw many patrons into theaters, but those who stumble in won’t feel ripped off.

Plot concerns Dixie (Delicia Lanza), a young woman whose plans to open a skating rink are thwarted when newfound love Hal (Brad Rowe) turns out to be a con man. Broke and vengeful, she makes a deal with retired detective Phil (Brian Doyle-Murray), now teaching at the Nick Harris Detective School: He’ll take her case on spec as a classroom exercise. The middle act, designed to let each student (played by the actor/investors) get screen time, is over-extended, but casting them as amateurs within the story is a clever disguise. Seasoned pro Doyle-Murray is a huge asset. Tech credits are adequate.

Getting Hal

Production

Produced by Tony Markes, Wonder Fortune Serra, Brad Rowe, Daniel Hassid, Adam Rifkin. Executive producers, James W. Gaffney, Eric Lord. Directed, edited by Tony Markes. Screenplay, Doug Stuart; story, Pamela Chais, Diana Levitt.

Crew

Camera (color), Claudio Rocha; music, Lars Anderson; music supervisor, Karyn Rachtman; costume designer, Kate Healey. Reviewed at Santa Monica Film Festival, Feb. 15, 2003. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Brian Doyle-Murray, Delicia Lanza, Carlo Glorioso, DeAnna Steele, Jonathan Kay, James Gaffney, Chandra Ray, Doug Stuart, Janine Antkowiak, Lisa Koppel, John J. Oliver, Kathryn Randall, Rod Fielder, Brad Rowe, Michael Herdson, Susie Park.
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