All Together Now: LAFF Review
Los Angeles Film Festival
Lou Taylor Pucci, James Duval, Stella Maeve, Nora Kirkpatrick, James Burns, Lindsey Garrett, Jerry Phillips, Hannah Sullivan, Morgan Krantz, Monika Jolly, Hal Dion, Will Watkins
Alexander Mirecki’s comedic drama takes place during a booze-fueled, night-long “forest party."
Whether the title of Alexander Mirecki’s debut comedic drama should be interpreted as an imperative or as a reference, it certainly isn’t descriptive of a film so lacking in narrative thrust and stylistic distinction. Indie-friendly fests may come calling to fill late-night sidebar slots before the film eventually runs short of exhibition options.
A booze-fueled, night-long “forest party” at an undisclosed outdoor location is the pretext for Ron (Lou Taylor Pucci) to gather a lineup of alternative and noise-pop bands to play at a makeshift shed in the woods. Various friends, music fans and hangers-on turn up for the show, including Zeke (James Duval), Ron’s buddy who’s planning to entertain the crowd with an impromptu stunt involving a 100-pound anvil and a black-powder charge.
The predominantly twenty-ish partygoers also include underage crashers Ashley (Hannah Sullivan) and her two gay pals, who are foisted on Richard (Will Watkins) and his girlfriend Tegan (Monika Jolly) by Ashley’s father Bruce (Hal Dion), who’s Richard’s clueless boss. Richard and Tegan quickly cut Ashley and her friends loose, as the kids prowl the party seeking beer donations and Ashley records footage and self-conscious commentary for her wanna-be hip blog while her astronomy-buff dad waits patiently in the nearby parking lot, stargazing and expounding on extraterrestrial cover-up conspiracies to passersby.
As a half-dozen performers rock and wail their way through short sets in the crowded corrugated-metal hut, hotties Rachel (Stella Maeve) and Kylie (Nora Kirkpatrick) flaunt themselves around the party, eventually providing casual sexual services for a couple of randy young guys with cash to spare. Formerly platonic pals Michelle (Lindsey Garrett) and Sam (Morgan Krantz) have a falling-out over some unwelcome romantic drama, while a couple dozen more minor characters fill out the plot and concert-crowd scenes.
Freely lifting from Richard Linklater’s classic Dazed and Confused, Greg Mottola's Superbad and similar youthful, comedic all-nighters, Mirecki and co-writer Ryan Kasmiskie aim high, but settle for far less attempting to interweave and resolve multiple narrative strands, most of them episodic in the extreme. Zoran Popovic’s super-16 cinematography is a bold aesthetic choice that’s squandered on too many scenes rendered overly murky by shooting the offhanded performances in low- and available-light situations.
Lacking either the narrative focus of a feature film or the vitality of a concert doc, All Together Now’s attempt to substitute spontaneity for substance will be of interest primarily to fans of the featured bands.
Venue: Los Angeles Film Festival
Cast: Lou Taylor Pucci, James Duval, Stella Maeve, Nora Kirkpatrick, James Burns, Lindsey Garrett, Jerry Phillips, Hannah Sullivan, Morgan Krantz, Monika Jolly, Hal Dion, Will Watkins
Director: Alexander Mirecki
Screenwriters: Alexander Mirecki, Ryan Kasmiskie
Producers: Leah Fong, Michael Younesi
Director of photography: Zoran Popovic
Production designer: Zach Bangma
Music: Manicorn, Nice Face, Night Control, Pedestrian Deposit
Editor: Gal Muggia
No rating, 84 minutes
Sundance: On the Scene