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London

For those who enjoy fashion-model-looking twentysomethings yelling at each other in bathrooms while doing too much cocaine, voila! Heaven is a place called "London." Everyone else will want to maintain a wide berth around this noxious debut feature for writer-director Hunter Richards. Next stop, rental limbo.

For those who enjoy fashion-model-looking twentysomethings yelling at each other in bathrooms while doing too much cocaine, voila! Heaven is a place called “London.” Everyone else will want to maintain a wide berth around this noxious debut feature for writer-director Hunter Richards, whose apparent views on the battle of the sexes suggest anger-management counseling is needed. Given recent rises in the career fortunes of leads Chris Evans (“Fantastic Four”), Jason Statham (the “Transporter” films) and Jessica Biel (“Elizabethtown”), one suspects this decidedly minor project has been sitting on the shelf, waiting for a hook. Next stop, rental limbo.

Waking from his latest stupor, shaggy-maned Syd (Evans) is displeased to learn the girlfriend who left him some months ago is leaving New York City tomorrow to move in with her new b.f., following a going-away party to which he has not been invited. He does the natural thing: Scores a ton of coke, and drags the dealer (Statham as Bateman) to the high-rise apartment fete, where they arrive early and unwelcomed.

Duo repairs to the cavernous bathroom and, incredibly, keep us there for most of the movie — snorting blow off a Van Gogh reproduction, sharing the wealth with Lolita type Maya (Kelli Garner) and bartender Mallory (Joy Bryant) while discussing the existence of God, their own horrible relationship track records, and who’s suffered the most as a result. Their tasteless insights are treated with shrill gravity.

Finally, Syd gathers the nerve to go downstairs and face guest of honor London (Biel), managing to cause a melee in the process. Incredibly, the not-so-dumb-looking yet only somewhat exasperated ex-g.f. then leaves the party with him for a one last night of good sex.

Perhaps the strangest thing in this movie — one that could only be loved by other macho cokeheads who confuse loving women with controlling them –is that it assumes the aud cares about protags’ future. It ultimately posits Syd as a hopeless, one-chick-forever romantic, when one might more naturally view him as a childish man-boy beggin’ for a restraining order.

The actors should not be faulted for the fact that their characters make pretty horrible company, since they have been urged toward hysteria at every opportunity. Evans gets the worst deal, forever shrieking variations on “I just wanna turn the pain off!” Statham’s slightly psycho Brit buddy feels like less an organic character than a homage to those he played in Guy Ritchie movies. No amount of edgy personality can work magic on some of the questionable lines Bateman is required to utter. Biel and the other women narrowly preserve their dignity.

Hardly anyone onscreen seems to have a job, yet they all live in spacious upscale Manhattan abodes that, abetted by Jo Willems’ widescreen lensing, help offset viewer claustrophobia within a basically non-cinematic concept. Tech aspects are slick. Print screened at Montreal lacked closing credits, with the image ending at 87 minutes while music continued to 90.

London

  • Production: A Destination Films presentation of an LHR Prods., Silver Nitrate Films production. Produced by Ash R. Shah, Paul Davis-Miller, Bonnie Timmerman. Executive producers, David Hillary, Timothy Peternel. Directed, written by Hunter Richards.
  • Crew: Camera (color, Panavision), Jo Willems; editor, Tracey Wadmore-Smith; production designer, Erin Smith; music, the Crystal Method; art director, Andrew Reznik; set decorator, Nathan A. Smith; costume designer, Rhona Meyers; sound (Dolby Digital), John Marquis; assistant director, Nicholas Lee. Reviewed at World Film Festival (competing), Montreal, Sept. 3, 2005. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Chris Evans, Jessica Biel, Jason Statham, Isla Fisher, Joy Bryant, Kelli Garner, Dane Cook, Leelee Sobieski.
  • Music By: