'Come Simi': Film Review

An amusing if ramshackle vehicle for its talented star

Actress Jenica Bergere stars in her feature directorial debut as a pregnant woman determined to reunite her family members before giving birth

Many first-time filmmakers deal with highly personal material, but Jenica Bergere takes it to extremes in her micro-budgeted debut feature. Culminating with actual footage of the director/star/co-writer giving birth, Come Simi is certainly self-revealing. The film featuring an eclectic cast ranging from Fionulla Flanagan to Tawny Kitaen was recently showcased at New York's First Time Fest.

Bergere, whose extensive acting credits include Safety Not Guaranteed and the Showtime series Shameless, plays the self-named lead role of the heavily pregnant Jenica, who embarks on a road trip to reunite her estranged family shortly before she's due to give birth. They include her dementia-addled mother Helene (Karen Landry); her aunt Maxine (Flanagan), who hasn't seen her sister in eighteen years; and her aging porn actress sister Dee Dee (Kitaen).

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The resulting road trip from Venice to Simi Valley, with a detour through Van Nuys, forms the crux of the slight narrative, with the dysfunctional family dynamics providing occasional merriment along the way. A running gag concerns the car's rather personally intrusive navigation system, "Go Pilot" (amusingly voiced by Molly Shannon).

Bergere, who co-scripted with Doc Pedrolie, delivers a fair share of funny one-liners, such as when her character announces that if her child is a boy he'll be named Kegel.

"It's a family name," she deadpans. "We come from a tight family."

But much of the humor, including the practically mute mother's penchant for uttering profanities, is of the familiar variety, and while the film covers a lot of geographic ground it doesn't really go anywhere particularly interesting.

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Still, it's an enjoyable enough road movie that, with a running time of a mere 74 minutes, is careful not to wear out its welcome. Bergere delivers her gags with admirable comic timing, while Kitaen, sporting lips so huge they make her look like Mr. Potato Head, is clearly having fun sending up her sex-kitten image so memorably immortalized in those 1980's-era Whitesnake videos.

Production: Unified Pictures
Cast: Jenica Bergere, Fionulla Flanagan, Joshua Funk, Karen Landry, Tawny Kitaen
Director: Jenica Bergere
Screenwriters: Jenica Bergere, Doc Pedrolie
Producers: Keth Kjarval, James Portolese, Mary Vernieu
Director of photography: Peter Mosiman
Production designer: Lauree martel
Editor: Jaceson Mann
Composer: Johnny Harris
Casting: Lindsay Graham

Not rated, 74 min.

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