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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
THE MONEY SHOT
at the Lucille Lortel

HOLLYWOOD INANITY
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Elizabeth Reaser, Fred Weller and Gia Crovatin/ Ph: Joan Marcus

The Money Shot gives us a kinder, gentler and far funnier Neil LaBute, his habitual mistrustful misogyny diverted toward a worthier – though admittedly broad – target. Here he sinks his teeth into the inanity of Hollywood, especially as personified by one buff but dense action-movie star, Steve, played by Fred Weller. (Let’s just assume that Steve’s films are dubbed for the domestic as well as foreign market, because Weller’s whiny tenor does not exactly broadcast machismo.)

Steve and his co-star Karen (the delightful Elizabeth Reaser) have convened their significant others to inform them of an impending sex scene and, ideally, obtain their respective blessings. Steve’s latest wife, 24-year-old Missy (Gia Crovatin), herself an aspiring actress, is unlikely to object to anything. Willing Trilby to Steve’s Svengali (he discusses her dietary restrictions as if she were a 4H cow), leggy Missy is accommodating to a fault – up to a point.

Not so Karen’s partner Bev (a tightly coiled, acerbic Callie Thorne), who bristles at Steve’s nonstop bêtises – principal among them, his assertion that Belgium is not part of Europe (though he’ll concede that it’s “European Unionian”). IPhone at the ready, Steve is prepared to defend his every last screwball assertion down to the mat – in the end, literally so. Weller’s Steve is a fool of Molierian stature, a steady source of liberating laughs.

And the three women more than hold their own – Reaser making little conciliatory moues as she minces apologetically post-meltdown(s), Thorne building up an all-but-visible bubble-caption of steaming rage, Crovatin demonstrating the “Crucible” cheerleading routine that inflamed her dramatic aspirations. The latter scene alone is reason enough to take in this unusually playful LaBute bagatelle.

 


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