×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The House of Yes

Wendy MacLeod's legit black comedy is expertly translated to the screen by adapter-director Mark Waters in "The House of Yes." Sophisticated urban auds should say yes to this wittily perverse, Gothic family conceit, and a smashing role for Parker Posey nudges her a few steps closer to stardom. Miramax snapped up rights to the pic within hours of its debut screening for just under $2 million. It's a classic dark and stormy night as Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) grimly drives his chirpsome donut-shop waitress fiancee, Lesly (Tori Spelling), from NYC to his family's upstate mansion. He's dreading this reunion --- indeed, script's weakest link is the idea that he agreed to the trip at all --- and cross-cut preparations among the family members suggest good reason. Mrs. Pascal (Genevieve Bujold) is an elegant yet humorlessly frank matriarch whose personality-defining view on motherhood's responsibilities is, "People 'raise' cattle --- children just happen." Dad has long since fled. Younger brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a fairly dim bulb and recent dropout. But the main event here is Marty's recently de-institutionalized twin (Posey), who goes by the name Jackie-O and has a Camelot/assassination fixation to go with it.

With:
Jackie-O ..... Parker Posey Marty ..... Josh Hamilton Lesly ..... Tori Spelling Anthony ..... Freddie Prinze Jr. Mrs. Pascal ..... Genevieve Bujold Young Jackie-O ..... Rachael Leigh Cook

Jackie-O screams, then laughs hysterically, when introduced to Lesly — this was not the reunion she had in mind. But even a fiancee won’t stand in the way of her reigniting a long-running (and not-so-long-retired) incestuous involvement with Marty. To that end, she plants romantic thoughts about the interloper in gullible Anthony’s head. For his part, Marty has every intention of clinging to Lesly’s extreme “normalcy” as salvation from this sick clan. But old habits die hard.

MacLeod’s centerpiece (preserved in the helmer’s faithful screenplay) reprises the twins’ adolescent specialty act: a mock slo-mo imitation, complete with pink Chanel ensemble and gun, of the famous Zapruder footage. Playing out this fatal historical moment, needless to say, does not improve chances for collective Pascal family well-being.

Staging-wise, Waters might have made even more of the jet-black humor in these climactic segs, but auds are likely to find them conceptually quite outre enough. Aside from a few unnecessarily earnest moments (between Marty and Lesly), plus one confused scene transition early on, he manages to open up the text while maintaining its perilous mix of arch wit, pathos and suspense.

Popular on Variety

The House of Yes

Production: A Miramax release of a Bandeira Entertainment presentation. Produced by Beau Flynn, Stefan Simchowitz. Executive producer, Robert Berger. Co-producers, Ron Wechsler, Jeffrey L. Davidson. Directed, written by Mark Waters, adapted from the play by Wendy MacLeod

Crew: Camera (color), Mike Spiller; editor, Pamela Martin; music, Jeff Rona; production design, Patrick Sherman; costumes, Ed Giguere; casting, Mary Vernieu. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 18, 1997. Running time: 90 MIN

With: Jackie-O ..... Parker Posey Marty ..... Josh Hamilton Lesly ..... Tori Spelling Anthony ..... Freddie Prinze Jr. Mrs. Pascal ..... Genevieve Bujold Young Jackie-O ..... Rachael Leigh Cook

More Film

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content