Thursday 5 January 2012

Stabbing Stupidity (2006)

Director: Paul DeNigris
Stars: Lindsay Marlin, Steve Briscoe, Louie Palmieri, Vince Reign and Laura Durant

Stabbing Stupidity is a lot shorter than The Long Shot, running about four minutes plus credits, but it's the peach of the shorts on the Cowboy Dreams DVD. In fact it's one of the best short films I've seen in a long time and I've screened a hundred of them in the last month. The concept is simple, centred on a young lady called Janet who has been conned into dinner with her highly inappropriate boss but finds an escape in her imagination. Writer Steve Briscoe and director Paul DeNigris riff on it superbly in a variety of ways and I still had a grin on my face on my fourth time through. Briscoe dominates here, not just because he wrote the script and its delightfully playful dialogue, but because he plays the boorish boss too with his Playboy cufflinks and even gets to sing over the end credits. DeNigris plays with technique from behind the camera, almost as an unseen dance partner with the leading lady, Lindsey Marlin, who shines through the fourth wall.

There's much worthy of praise here, but what I found most impressive was the fact that Stabbing Stupidity could so easily have spun way out of control, just because of how fun it was. This could have been a four minute film stuck in a twenty minute running time, but it isn't. It's lean and not a second longer than it should be. One of the biggest indicators for out of control filmmaking is when the director gets to edit his own picture, as DeNigris does here, because it gives them free rein to shoot as much as they like and leave in as much as they like. Usually that's a bad idea, but here DeNigris proves the exception to the rule. It plays out like clockwork. Almost every line does something, whether it be to build character, hit a punchline or set up a gimmick. Marlin and Briscoe hit every mark like professional comedians and DeNigris is right there to underline them. It's an exercise in technique, simultaneously violent and hilarious, and women will love it.

No comments: