'Tiger Lily Road': Film Review

Courtesy of CineFugitivo
This is not a road you want to take

Two love-starved middle-aged women handcuff a handsome intruder to a bed in this dark comedy

Reminiscent of such dark comedies as P.S. Your Cat is Dead and Arsenic and Old Lace, director/screenwriter Michael Medeiros' debut feature concerns two middle-aged single women who disarm a handsome young intruder and keep him prisoner while a snowstorm rages outside. Hilarity does not ensue.

The central characters are roommates Annie (Ilvi Dulack), a demure small-town vet, and Louise (Karen Chamberlain), the former "class slut" who hasn't given up her licentious ways. Both women are pushing forty and bereft of male companionship, with Annie's former cop boyfriend Russell (Tom Nardini) newly out of the running after he announces his engagement to a much younger woman.

Sexually and emotionally frustrated, they vow a one-year moratorium on dating, with Louise exulting that "our auras will be day-glo" as a result.  But their plans change with the sudden arrival of the hunky Ricky (Tom Pelphrey), on the lam from the law after an angry incident involving a clerk at a convenience store for which he's been unjustly accused of attempted rape.

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Russell shows up unexpectedly at the same time, and is shot dead in his tussle with the fugitive. The quick-witted Annie manages to subdue the intruder with the help of the drugs she uses to euthanize dogs, and in the absence of transportation or communication they handcuff the young man to a bed.

Cue the psycho-sexual complications, with the randy Louise dosing Ricky with Viagra and mounting his resulting tumescence despite his objection that "I like my coochie tighter." She departs hurriedly after having his way with him, saying, "You're right, let's skip the cuddles."

Meanwhile, the less rape-prone Annie begins to forge an unlikely emotional connection with their prisoner, resulting in emotional tension in the household. Looking on bemusedly is her elderly mother (Rita Gardner) who clearly hasn't lost her own sexual appetite.

The filmmaker deserves points for exploring middle-aged female sexuality, but that's about it. Lacking a consistent tone, the stagey proceedings having the feel of a bad Off-Off Broadway play consistently fall flat, with nary a single gag landing. The supposed dark humor, which makes light of even the death of the benign if insensitive policeman, leaves a bitter aftertaste, with Milosz Jeziorski's absurdly jaunty musical score striking all the wrong notes.

The female leads manage to find some grace notes in the unfortunate material, and Pelphrey ably fulfills the physical demands of his role. But Tiger Lily Road is strictly a cinematic dead end.

Production: Bennett Park Films, Fugitive Media
Cast: Ilvi Dulack, Karen Chamberlain, Tom Pelphrey, Tom Nardini, Rita Gardner, Sarah Shaefer
Director/screenwriter/producer: Michael Medeiros
Executive producers: Alan Hruska, Catherine Connor
Director of photography: Nils Kenaston
Composer: Milosz Jeziorski
Casting: Judy Bowman

No rating, 89 min.

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