Well, I've waited my whole life to hear Annabeth Gish yelling
at the top of her lungs "I'm a lesbian!!", but apart
from that moment of pure bliss, there really wasn't a heck of
a lot more to recommend about Knots.
What feels a little different about this film is that it's kind
of a Sex and the City for men. Three guys, Dave,
Jake and Cal, are best friends. Dave is married to Greta (Annabeth
Gish, who despite looking freakishly gorgeous as usual, pretty much sleepwalks
her way through this film), while Cal has been living with Emily
(Tara Reid) for about five years, but cheats on her constantly.
Jake is perennially single and still pretty sore at Cal because
three weeks before the movie starts he has apparently slept with
Jake's date at a party. Dave and Greta are going through a crisis
after only two years of marriage, and Cal is an immature little
brat who doesn't know how to commit. Dave and Jake meet Lily in
a bar, and Jake asks her to double-date with Dave and Greta.
Two days after the double-date, Dave comes home to find Greta
in bed with Lily, who is completely unrepentent and in fact seems
to enjoy the chaos she's created. Greta is having an "identity
crisis", and Lily has simply helped her to try and figure
out her true self. Dave gets all twisted up about it and confronts
Lily at her office, where they wind up having sex on Lily's desk.
Meanwhile Jake coincidentally meets Emily at a bar and they strike
up a conversation. (I found it difficult to believe that if Jake
and Cal are friends that Jake would never have even seen a picture
of Emily, but I digress.) Jake blurts out his sad story about
his friend screwing his date at a party. After a while Emily puts
two and two together, realises Jake is talking about Cal, and
runs off to confront him.
The rest of the film follows the tangled web of relationships
and sex and odd coincidences that always happens in these films.
I think it is actually a real shame that the writers decided to
tell almost the entire film from the guy's perspective, because
I think by mixing it up a little they could have made something
more interesting. They also needed to not be so damn prudish about
sex. A little more heat would have spiced things up dramatically.
Unfortunately, since you get an M rating in the USA for just saying
the word "lesbian", I guess a kiss or two would have
sent it right over the top.
Greta's "realisation" that she's a lesbian is actually
priceless. You hear stories about women having their first
sexual experiences with women and suddenly seeing the light. Greta
and Dave have awesome sex after a fight, which Dave mistakenly
thinks is make-up sex. While he's lying there proclaiming how
great it is, Greta has come to the truth at last, and whips the
legs right out from under him. Poor Dave, it is a humiliating
moment and Gilmore Girls alumni Scott Cohen plays
him beautifully, fractured ego and wounded manhood and all. Dave
is not that much of a stretch actually from Cohen's character Josh
in Kissing Jessica Stein,
except perhaps a bit less sarcastic and a bit more slapstick.
It was really obvious what co-writer/director Greg Lombardo was
going for here. He was after that quick-talking, witty, drawing-room
comedy style of the thirties and forties, mixed up a little with
the self-referential sexual politics and neuroses of a Woody Allen
film. Mix that with the Shakespearian
Puck-like Lily whose shenanigans first harm and then magically
heal our group of lovers, and you have quite a range of influences
at work here. Unfortunately it also suffers from what I call "cut
to" syndrome. Whenever anything remotely interesting or heated
or sexy starts happening, the film cuts to the bit where they're
breathing heavily and it is all over. The straight couples get
to kiss, but the lesbians don't. What a wonderfully consistent
world we live in.
Once the screwball elements start happening, and they (by the
very nature of the genre) start literally tripping over each other
to see who can make a bigger fool of themselves first, the film
starts to gather some much-needed momentum. Though everything
is wrapped up too neatly with a nice little bow on top, there
are some really great moments in the last twenty minutes of the
film, so if you find yourself nodding off, remember to wake up
for the last section, it's worth it.
What I want to know is, how did these mostly B-List actors get
roped into such an awful script? If this film was one of those
"money" movies that the actors obviously made some cash
from despite how crap it was, I would maybe understand, but no,
it's obvious that nobody made any money here. Annabeth Gish has
made some questionable film choices in the past, as has Tara Reid
(that's the understatement of the century) and this really is
one of those. I think perhaps all these actors knew the director
and appeared as a favour? It certainly has that "let's make
it up as we go along" feel of a brazen, indie comedy, but
without the talented, quirky script that needs to underlie such
What is kinda cool about this film is that it is the kind of
film people are likely to stumble across in the video store and
rent without knowing anything about it, just because it looks
like a normal romantic comedy about a bunch of young married and
single people in New York. So they might find themslves watching,
and moderately enjoying, a gay storyline they weren't expecting.
As I said before though, I've been waiting a long time for Annabeth
Gish to play a lesbian in a feature film, so this is a bit of
a disappointment. I hope this doesn't stop her playing other lesbian
parts in future. Those people looking for a deep and meaningful
lesbian film experience would be wise to look elsewhere...
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