A game and winning performance by Melinda Page Hamilton is the only saving grace of "Stay," a rasty sex comedy from Bobcat Goldthwait about the perils of telling the whole truth. Dropping its bomb in the opening scene, pic far exceeds the limits of how far a one-joke comedy can be extended by spending the rest of the running time dealing with the fallout.

A game and winning performance by Melinda Page Hamilton is the only saving grace of “Stay,” a rasty sex comedy from Bobcat Goldthwait about the perils of telling the whole truth. Dropping its bomb in the opening scene — college girl Amy orally services (off-screen) her dog one lonely night — pic far exceeds the limits of how far a one-joke comedy can be extended by spending the rest of the running time dealing with the fallout after she relents to her fiance’s demand that she tell him the grossest thing she ever did. A theatrical date for this extreme low-budgeter is a real long shot.

As news of Amy’s youthful transgression spreads to her uptight parents and dead-ender brother, her life spins downward, and climax hinges on how she reacts when her next b.f. makes the same tell-me-everything request. Pic is off-putting from the gamey opening scene not so much for the subject matter as for its amateurish video look, exacerbated throughout by ugly use of wide angle lenses and complete lack of visual savoir faire. Interiors are cramped, and an aggressively cutesy French-style accordion-score produces extra cringes.

Stay

Production

Produced by Marty Pasetta Jr. Co-producers, Sarah de Sa Rego, Michael Malone. Directed, written by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor, video), Ian S. Takahashi; editor, Jason Stewart; music, Jerry Brunskill; production designer, Melanie Mandl; costume designer, Sara de Sa Rego. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 21, 2006. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Melinda Page Hamilton, Bryce Johnson, Colby French, Geoff Pierson, Jack Plotnick, Bonita Friedericy.

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