The Anniversary Party Movie Poster

US Release Date: 06/24/2001

Credits

Directed by:Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Starring:

Movie Review

The Anniversary Party

"It's Not A Party Until Something Gets Broken."
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Reviewed on: June 26th, 2001
Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Anniversary Party.

Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Anniversary Party.

Co-written and directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, they also play the lead characters in this witty, intelligent look at the foibles inherent in today's relationships. The action, which all happens over the course of about 24 hours, centers around an anniversary party given by the recently reconciled couple; writer Joe Therrian (Cumming) and his partner, fading movie star Sally Nash (Leigh). The guest list is comprised of some of the best actors in the business; including, but not limited to, Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. Reilly, Parker Posey and Jennifer Beals.

As the evening progresses the guests as well as their host's let their hair down more and more. Then when Gwyneth Paltrow's character bestows the gift of “love" in the form of ecstasy pills the party really gets interesting.

The fact that many of the guests are ex-lovers allows for decent tension and razor sharp dialogue. Especially good is the charades scene. Which comes across as improvised; though in interviews the two creators insist it was scripted. It works either way.

I recommend this movie as a refreshing alternative to the overblown blockbusters currently filling multiplexes around the country. Take a date to this one, but leave the ex-lovers at home.

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Reviewed on: June 29th, 2001
Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Anniversary Party.

Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Anniversary Party.

My main problem with this movie is the lack of a story.  When it comes to movies, I am a slave to plot.  Some people may disagree, but to me it is the single most important ingredient to any film.  The Anniversary Party lacks any real plot.

Oh sure, as Patrick points out, there are some great actors in this movie, and dialogue is as sharp as Patrick points out.  And by the end of the movie you really do feel as though you've attended a Hollywood party.  But so what?  That in itself just isn't enough to make an interesting movie.

One thing that Patrick doesn't mention is the comedy, which is sharp and biting at times.  Particularly amusing is everyone's reaction to the infamous next door neighbor's appearance at the party.  This and Jennifer Jason Leigh's character's business manager's inappropriate anger during the charade scene are two of the movie's amusing highlights.

As I said, this movie doesn't contain much plot.  It is instead a series of moments between characters, some of which are interesting, and many others that are not so interesting.  The best moments feature the stars Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh.  Whether together or with others, they speak volumes with what they say, what they almost say, and even more with what they don't say.  It's very easy to believe that these two versatile actors are a married couple.

Interesting characters and good actors are just not enough to make this an interesting or good movie however.  This was one anniversary I don't ever care to celebrate again.

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