'Reunion'

Several members of a Yale secret society gather in Gotham at the behest of a dead woman 10 years after her funeral in “Reunion,” Alan Hruska’s drearily pretentious, ultra-stagy exercise in middle-age self-loathing.

Several members of a Yale secret society gather in Gotham at the behest of a dead woman 10 years after her funeral in “Reunion,” Alan Hruska’s drearily pretentious, ultra-stagy exercise in middle-age self-loathing. These alumni, who apparently worshipped at the altar of their own brilliance, once believed they could change the world, a belief emphatically denied by their present incarnations. They spend their three days together bemoaning that fact, kvetching in despairing twosomes or well-catered group sessions of mutual blame and self-disgust. Opening March 6 in two New York venues, the pic seems headed for merciful oblivion.

Though Hruska’s tin ear for dialogue remains unchanged, as does his penchant for clumsy Billy Wilder borrowings (here, he plunders “The Apartment”), “Reunion” lacks even the misguided energy of his previous, genre-based efforts (“Nola,” “The Warrior Class”), burdening thesps with leaden roles of lugubrious sameness and festering nastiness. To add insult to injury, when the dead woman is discovered to have feet of clay, they miraculously find acceptance, either in newfound marital accord or brave acts of self-affirmation. Hruska may have invented a new genre: communal narcissism.

Reunion

Production

A Talking Pictures Co. release of a Reunion Prods. production. Produced by Petina Cole, Jonathan Gray, Matt Tauber. Co-producers, Jamey Sheridan, Kate Dean, Adam Spielberg. Hilary Stabb. Directed, written by Alan Hruska.

Crew

Camera (color), Learan Kahanov; editor, Peter C. Frank; music, Eric V. Hachikian; production designer, Aleta Shaffer; costume designer, Sarah Holden. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Feb. 27, 2009. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Brett Cullen, Zoe McLellan, Jessica Hecht, Josh Pais, Alice Evans, David Thronton, Amy Pietz, Cynthia Stevenson, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Khaja.
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