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Ellie Parker

A Beautiful Mess…

Ellie Parker is one of hundreds of thousands of aspiring actresses frantically driving from audition to audition in the wasteland that is Hollywood. She can change at the drop of a hat from a Southern Belle to a Garden State hooker; not that this has helped her get much closer to stardom.

Naomi Watts plays the frenetic and confused Ellie Parker in the aptly titled, Ellie Parker. The film is largely a testament to Watts' abilities as an actor. Truly, it is remarkable to see the various transformations Watts undergoes as she jets from one fruitless audition to the next. She manages this while driving, reapplying makeup, and having director Scott Coffey's camera in her face the whole time.

Debut director Scott Coffey manages to create a quasi-verite style for Ellie Parker by shooting the entire film with a handheld camera. Additionally, Coffey has the camera in Ellie's face for pretty much the entire runtime creating a profound feeling of intimacy (if not intrusiveness). We are witnesses to the ridiculous mess that is Ellie's life.

Unfortunately, Coffey's interesting choice in filming Ellie Parker and Naomi Watt's excellent performance is about all the film has going for it. There's no real substantive narrative. Ellie Parker is largely an assemblage of various meanderings and non-sequitors.

Ellie jets from one audition to another, hangs out with her loser boyfriend, has a nervous breakdown, and hangs out with a close friend. It's vaguely entertaining, but effectively devoid of any meaning. Ellie is entertaining, but it's not clear why we should give a shit about her.

Apparently, Ellie Parker was originally a sixteen minute experimental film that writer/director Scott Coffey put together in 2001. Receiving praise on his work, Coffey elected to extend his short to a feature. I can see how Ellie Parker might have worked as a sixteen minute short, but the feature length version of Ellie Parker just doesn't work by and large. Aside from Watt's performance, there is little else to recommend this one.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars