Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ANTIBIRTH (2016)


ANTIBIRTH (2016)

Director: Danny Perez
Writer: Danny Perez

Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Meg Tilly, Chloƫ Sevigny


A lonely Saturday of too many cigarettes and too much cheap vodka got me perusing Netflix and settling on a little movie called Antibirth. Ah, good things I’ve heard! Ah, interesting the trailer looked. Shit, it’s presented by IFC Midnight. Let us settle in then, folks, for a mediocre viewing experience.
     Lou (Natasha Lyonne) is a haggard-lookin’ party girl/pothead who feels like shit after a warehouse party and can’t remember what happened the night before. Her friend, Sadie (ChloĆ« Sevigny, here for name value), and symptoms point to pregnancy even though she hasn't had sex in almost a year. A woman named Lorna (Meg Tilly) shows up spouting off psychic atmosphere interdimensional claptrap. Oh, and Lou goes from freshly pregnant to ready to pop within a week. Just what in the hell is goin’ on here? Was she knocked up by some dude with super semen? Was it some kind of weird drug? Is it the result of alien abduction? Or how about some, I’m guessing, government conspiracy? Really, who the fuck knows!?
     Antibirth will remind you of every conversation you’ve ever had with any bombed-out, forty-something pothead who can’t get their shit together; once Lorna shows up, it’ll remind you of every conversation you’ve ever had with any bombed-out, alien-obsessed pothead who can’t get their shit together. In other words: stupid and uninteresting. Lou is, by far, the most annoying, whiny, shit-for-
brains, unsympathetic protagonist I’ve ever encountered in my life. Seriously, I felt more for the slugs in Slugs than I did for Lou, who reminds me of a) some crackhead lush I once dated, and b) a trailer park gal who’s one deep-dickin’ and pregnancy test away from a guest spot on Jerry Springer/Maury Povich. Hell, even the electronics don’t like her, as evidenced by the microwave that explodes when she touches it with her stomach (I actually cheered the microwave on). The other characters, thankfully, aren’t anywhere near as annoying and stupid as Lou. But they’re just as flat and one-note as her.
     None of this is the fault of the actors, who are serviceable in their narrow roles, but the script which gives them fuck all to work with. And speaking of the script, I’m willing to bet writer/director Danny Perez was tokin’ a bit of Lucifer’s Lettuce when he wrote this thing: it tries to be too many things without succeeding; and it tries to drop too many red herrings along the way, tricking the audience into thinking one thing and then another, without getting the elements to gel together into an organic and fluid whole. Thus, the ending doesn’t feel like a big reveal so
much as something tacked on as an afterthought. And because they realized their pithy movie needed some blood and guts. Perhaps this is due to Perez trying to stretch the concept out to 94 minutes when it would have worked better as a 30-minute short. This also causes the pacing to suffer as well as it sluggishly stretches towards from one plot point to another.
     On the plus side, however, the final ten minutes are a laugh fest and is kind of worth the price of admission. If the humor is intentional, kudos to Perez. If not, kudos still because at least I got only 80-minutes of “Meh” as opposed to 90.

     While not a terrible film, Antibirth yet further proof that IFC needs to stay out of the horror game seeing as most of their product has been lackluster, pretentious, or both. If you really intend to watch Antibirth, be warned the bulk of it is anti-entertaining.