'A Wonderful Cloud': Film Review

A Wonderful Cloud - H 2015
Courtesy of Dan O'Sullivan

A witless parade of affected quirkiness.

Kate Lyn Sheil returns to L.A. to tie up loose ends, fails.

What's more tiresome than a movie about self-obsessed denizens of the fashion world? Maybe one about self-obsessed fashionistas who lack talent, catty charisma and looks? Kate Lyn Sheil is an exception on that last count in A Wonderful Cloud — a pretty but blank-eyed face in a clot of ugly people wearing stupid clothes in crass situations. Writer/director/co-star Eugene Kotlyarenko may or may not be trying to skewer L.A. strivers here — the paucity of laughs makes it hard to say — but this bundle of affectations flops as both rom and com, and will find few admirers beyond its floundering-scenester demographic.

The director plays Eugene and Sheil plays Kate Lyn. The fictional characters are former lovers, and as you might guess from some badly shot cellphone footage taken several years ago, the actors also had a real-world relationship at one point. Here, neither is in the film world: They're would-be designers who started a company when they were dating in New York. Now Kate Lyn has come for a weekend visit, hoping both to get her old partner to sign his half of the company over to her and to secure some kind of deal to sell her half-baked clothing line. For his part, as he tells his current girlfriend, Eugene mostly wants to show Kate Lyn such a good time she'll "feel bad about her life" without him.

But what woman could regret breaking up with Eugene? Balding, he has grown a Bozo the Clown-style nimbus to overcompensate. He loves defecating with the door open and narrating his efforts to those nearby. He's a cheat and a liar who drives a beater and has no evident means of support.

Some viewers, presumably, will find this grotesque creation amusing. Those so inclined will surely enjoy the other shallowly imagined beings we meet during Kate's weekend tour: The vaguely mystical "poet" obsessing over a short-term boyfriend she broke up with months ago; her bizarre "psychic" friend, who runs a lint roller over Kate's hair and claims "I can smell your future ... like rotten sugar"; the trust-fund "artist" who plays an attempted rape off as comedy; and Paulston, the couturier caricature who tells Kate she's "the next big thing."

Sprinkled in between the thwarted sexual assault and toilet episodes are several masturbation scenes, a woman who leaves feces in her lover's shoes and a Truth or Dare game in which Kate is made to lick Eugene's armpit.

She doesn't like it. No wonder.


Production companies: Dirty Pictures, BTW Productions

Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Eugene Kotlyarenko, Rachel Lord, Vishwam Velandy, John Ennis

Director-Screenwriter: Eugene Kotlyarenko

Producer: Brande Bytheway

Executive producers: Christian Rosa

Director of photography: Dan O'Sullivan

Production designer: Joan Howard Lee

Costume designer: Lisa Katnic

Editor: Benjamin Moses Smith

No rating, 79 minutes