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Girl Walks Into a Bar

The cinematic equivalent of a light but tasty snack.

With: Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Robert Forster, Gil Bellows, Aaron Tveit.

Anyone who has acquired a taste for writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s playfully naughty and archly stylized crazy quilts of colorful characters and interlocking storylines can savor “Girl Walks Into a Bar” as the cinematic equivalent of a light but tasty snack. Billed as the first major feature produced exclusively for online consumption (it’s already available on YouTube), this unevenly paced but amusing pic has the kicky, anything-goes vivacity of a collaborative project produced in a single, sustained burst of creative enthusiasm.

Set in a succession of 10 Los Angeles bars over a long evening, “Girl” charts the random connections between, among others, a resourceful ex-cop (Carlo Gugino, star of Gutierrez’s “Women in Trouble” and “Elektra Luxx”); a melancholy ex-con (Robert Forster); a criminally inclined bar owner (Danny DeVito); and the hostess (Rosario Dawson) of what likely is the only nude Ping-Pong club in Silver Lake. As usual, Gutierrez’s dialogue recalls the funny wordplay in early pics by Alan Rudolph and Hal Hartley, and his dance sequences suggest an unfulfilled longing to direct a full-blown musical. Performances are zesty — Gutierrez brings out the best in Gugino — and tech values are surprisingly polished.

Girl Walks Into a Bar

Production: A Shangri-La Entertainment presentation in association with Fotokem of a Gato Negro Films production. Produced by Steve Bing, Sebastian Gutierrez, Richard Rosenblatt. Co-producer, Zach Schwartz. Directed, written by Sebastian Gutierrez.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Cale Finot; editor, Lisa Bromwell; music, Grant Lee Phillips; production designer, Brian Vog; costume designer, Genevieve Tyrrell. Reviewed at SXSW Film Festival (Spotlight Premieres), March 11, 2011. Running time: 79 MIN.

Cast: With: Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Robert Forster, Gil Bellows, Aaron Tveit.

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