“New Suit,” the latest low-budget view of Hollywood from the bottom rung, is also one of the funnier. Instead of a savage expose, writer Craig Sherman and director Francois Velle have taken a light, satirical approach to the absurd lengths to which people go to latch onto a hot property. This breezy, polished production in turn serves to showcase the talents of Jordan Bridges, the son of Beau Bridges, and Marisa Coughlan, as sharp here as she was as the nasty sorority girl opposite Christina Ricci in “Pumpkin.” Heather Donahue and Mark Setlock head a lively supporting cast.
Bridges’ 24-year-old Kevin Taylor has arrived in Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a screenwriter and discovers his neighbor Marianne Roxbury (Coughlan), who likes to present herself as a producer, has just landed a job as a junior agent. It is his first lesson on how Hollywood types cannot resist inflating their actual status.
As for Kevin, he gets a job reading scripts and working as a flunky for a crass producer, Munster Hansau (Dan Hedaya), whose last hit was some time ago. Hansau’s key associates are his secretary (Donahue), who’s every bit as ambitious as Marianne, and his harried V.P. (Setlock), whose intelligence only adds to his frustration in working for such a creep.
Hansau has a suitably tony office suite in a regal-looking major studio, which locals will recognize as the Citadel, that recycled Assyrian Revival tire factory beside the Santa Ana Freeway. An inspired choice, it looks for all the world like the real thing.
Despite indications to the contrary, Marianne has no interest in a relationship with Kevin and is only concerned with furthering her career. In the meantime, Kevin’s lunchmates at the studio so appall him with raves over terrible scripts, simply because they are so intent on promoting them, that on the spur of the moment he announces he’s come across a terrific writer, Jordan Strawberry, and his script is called “New Suit.”
Suddenly, Kevin has lit a wildfire that, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t put out. He’s surrounded by liars: people who insist they know Strawberry personally and even a self-described model-actress-whatever who insists she’s bedded him. Everybody wants a slice of the Strawberry pie.
Nobody has bothered to ask Kevin what “New Suit” is about, and one person describes it as a combination of “The Full Monty” and “Star Wars.” Another describes it as featuring a liquefied, shape-changing creature that will be a sure-fire hit with kids. Yet another declares that “Will Smith and J.Lo are ready to start shooting tomorrow.”
A dizzying display of the art of cutthroat deal-making swiftly escalates. In not taking itself too seriously “New Suit” scores more points than some pictures that take a scathing approach.
MPAA rating: R, for language, some sexuality and drug use
Times guidelines: Acceptable for older children
Jordan Bridges...Kevin Taylor
Marisa Coughlan...Marianne Roxbury
A Trillion Entertainment presentation. Director Francois Velle. Producers Laurent M. Zilber, Christina N. Zilber. Screenplay Craig Sherman. Cinematographer David Mullen. Editor Kris Cole. Music supervisor Nathan D. Duvall. Costumes Alix Friedberg. Production designer Nava. Set decorator Paul Pastorelli. Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes. In general release.