Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Night at the Roxbury (John Fortenberry, 1998)

This drawn-out comedy sketch of a movie is a prime example of how to take a single joke, stretch it out for eighty-plus minutes and still manage to create comedic gold in the process. A Night at the Roxbury is a film where advanced jauntiness and man-child angst collide to form an artfully textured mosaic; one that is jam-packed with shiny suits, leggy nightclub floozies and throbbing disco beats. Now don't get me wrong, the film is profoundly idiotic (on every level imaginable). But I found the Butabi brothers to be quite charming...in an obtuse kinda way. They have a bewitching allure about them, a dim innocence, if you will. I mean, they try so hard to fit in, emulating what they think is trendy and cool, yet society still rejects them. I was deeply saddened by the film's undercurrent of voguish melancholy. Which, in some ways, reminded me of the early works of Luchino Visconti. The film's plot involves two club-hopping brothers and their lofty goal to gain access to the prestigious Roxbury Club...um, yep, that's the plot right there. A twitchy Chris Kattan plays Doug Butabi, the so-called "smart one" of the pair. I thought his relationship with the phone operator (Meredith Scott Lynn) was cute and his addiction to Fluffy Whip (nitrous oxide) to be a delightful touch. And a clueless-looking Will Ferrell is so moronic as Steve Butabi, that you could fuel the economies of several third world nations with the sheer stupidity of his performance.

The disco-tinged centrepiece at the Roxbury (the reason I watched the film in the first place) is one of the most impressive club sequences ever filmed. Everything from the choreography to the costumes was perfectly realized. Hell, even the extras came through in the clutch.

The totally fierce Elisa Donovan is hotness personified as Cambi, a redheaded enchantress who, along with her equally supple friend, Vivica (a tantalizing Gigi Rice), saunters across the dance-floor like a marauding emus. Their dance number with the Butabi brothers is one the most giddy-inducing things I've seen all week; a wonderfully sweaty concoction of thrashing limbs and grinding torsos. The predatory nature of the scene must not be discounted, and the arousal factor is through the roof.

The fact that the disco sequence is mostly dialogue-free only contributed to the scene's timelessness. But even when they do open their mouths to enunciate actual words, the amount of cringing was minimal. That's because Elisa Donovan (Amber from Clueless) delivers all her lines with a vixenish glee, "Chachi could give a flying fuck about Joanie" being my favourite.

And inflated amazement is the only way to describe my mental state as I watched Elise dance. Her skimpy black dress hugged the contours of her perfectly-shaped body like a lubricated rubber glove. Also, the look on her face after being knocked on her ass by an overly exuberant Kattan was extremely adorable.

The omnipresent Molly Shannon is super-sexy as Emily, a woman who sells lamps for a living. Her highlights include, giving oral sex to a ripe strawberry, yelling out the names of furniture ("Ikea!") while climaxing in the sack, and calling the best man at her wedding a "Stupid dick!" Chazz Palminteri's ass grabbing fixation was kinda funny, and Richard Grieco is surprisingly convincing as himself.


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