Thursday 14 November 2013

The Greatest Lie Ever Told (2013)

Director: Cody Everett
Stars: Carrie Fee and Cory Brox

Having reviewed Dust Jacket a couple of days ago, I felt it appropriate to follow up with an associated new film, The Greatest Lie Ever Told, made by the same people wearing different hats. Kenneth Miller, who directed that film, steps back here to merely produce, while Cody Everett, a producer last time, steps up to direct this one. Where that was an eighties genre throwback, this is a modern comedy, the two films as unlike each other as could be comfortably imagined, but I did note that they're set in the same fictional universe. In fact they may take place at precisely the same time, as Skip Sammons is on the TV at one point talking about serial killers. I'll have to keep my eyes open on future Cool Wave pictures to see how they tie together. Other notable commonalities are that Charles Peterson shot and produced them both and Carrie Fee appears in them. Her role in Dust Jacket could be seen as a dream scenario for Cassandra, her character in Peterson's Sex and Violence; maybe this is her nightmare.

Certainly she makes us very aware of every bodily fluid that didn't arise in that film, which may set us in good standing for where Everett, who also wrote the piece, plans to take us. The opening scene is a deceptively calm and peaceful one, with soft piano jazz backing a young couple drinking in a booth at the Armadillo Grill, but it's not a happy moment; we're about to find out why Cory Brox wants to break up with Carrie Fee. I should point out that those are both the names of the actors and the characters they play here, an interesting approach given what we're about to see them get up to in a succession of flashbacks. Brox does well in his first IMDb credited role, especially given that he's mostly tasked with being a prop for Fee to play with, as she dominates proceedings in astounding ways,. Let's just say that if she ever had a single ounce of fear about doing something embarrassing on screen, she won't have to worry about that any more. It's all behind her now, in some ways quite literally.

And I really can't say anything more about what happens without venturing into spoiler territory, even though that's probably not a big deal. This is quite obviously a one joke movie, with a punchline that's telegraphed in the picture's title, but it's told well enough that it has us laughing and cringing all at the same time after half a dozen retellings. While the material is completely different, it reminded me of the jokes that Ronnie Corbett used to tell on The Two Ronnies, where the joy was never in his usually terrible punchlines but in the way he rambled hilariously towards them. Here the joy arrives as much from our anticipation of what Fee is going to do next as in the discovery that yes, she just did that. In fact, this is one of those movies that you'll watch in shocked amazement, then play all over again just to confirm to your disbelieving brain that you did indeed see what you think you just saw. By the fifth or sixth time, you'll be calling people into the room so that you can put them through it too.

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