You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

28 Hotel Rooms

Matt Ross' "28 Hotel Rooms" flirts with erotic and cinematic possibilities in examining a long-distance affair that starts with casual sex and grows to emotional involvement over a number of years.

With: Chris Messina, Marin Ireland.

Matt Ross’ “28 Hotel Rooms” flirts with erotic and cinematic possibilities in examining a long-distance affair that starts with casual sex and grows to emotional involvement over a number of years. But lacking much dramatic or intellectual stimulation, it’s ultimately a limp effort. The two-hander exists primarily as a showcase for actors Chris Messina and Marin Ireland, who lack in range what they make up for in chemistry. Pic will draw muted interest from domestic and foreign arthouse buyers.

Without introduction, Messina and Ireland (whose characters remain nameless throughout) appear in flagrante in Room 1704 — the first of 28 numbered hotel rooms identified onscreen in the form of chapter headings; it’s a helpful tool, indicating passage of time as well as change of location, since these always nice but seldom luxurious quarters look so much alike.

Over the next few rooms/dates, they get to know each other a bit better: He’s a New York novelist whose first book is a bestseller, while she’s a Seattle corporate accountant. His darker, slightly Italianate features and her blonde, Scandinavian appearance complement each other, and their mutual attraction is made palpable as the actors, onscreen throughout the film, throw themselves into their roles.

Once the scenario and characters are in place, however, the pic shows little interest in pushing matters to more provocative, thoughtful or unexpected levels. Economic circumstances change, and both lovers marry other people at points — a matter of muted comedy at best, particularly concerning parentage of offspring, but it’s seldom enough to stir intense emotional fires.

A similar situation played out with far greater impact in Frederic Fonteyne’s 1999 erotic drama “An Affair of Love,” also involving a nameless couple (played by Nathalie Baye and Sergi Lopez) carrying on an affair in hotel rooms. The stakes feel much lower in Ross’ film, and when the fireworks eventually do arrive, it’s too little, too late. A tacked-on ending feels implausible.

That “28 Hotel Rooms” pairs characters with little depth and actors with little range could be viewed as a good fit. But it’s never an interesting or memorable journey.

Doug Emmett’s camerawork in the contained settings is skilled and varied in a tech package that’s consistently pro.

28 Hotel Rooms

Production: A Silverwood Films presentation of a OneZero Films production in association with Sundial Pictures. (International sales: Preferred Content, Los Angeles.) Produced by Lynette Howell, Louise Runge, Samantha Housman. Executive producers, Chris Messina, Andrew Meieran, Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey, Alex Sagalchik. Co-producer, Crystal Powell. Directed, written by Matt Ross.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Doug Emmett; editor, Joseph Krings; music, Fall on Your Sword; costume designers, Julia Caston, Jamie Bresnan; sound (stereo), Jay Verkamp, Fred Stuben, Akash Singh; supervising sound editor, Steven Iba; sound re-recording mixer, Richard "Tricky" Kitting; assistant directors, Benjamin Wilkins, Mitch Yapko, Scott Larkin. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Next), Jan. 21, 2012. Running time: 82 MIN.

Cast: With: Chris Messina, Marin Ireland.

More Scene

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content