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Review: Pointless gimmicks in ‘Fourplay’ flaunts style over substance

(L-R) - Tammy Blanchard, Dominic Fumasa, Bryan Greenberg and Emanuela Galliussi in a scene from “Fou
Tammy Blanchard, from left, Dominic Fumusa, Bryan Greenberg and Emanuela Galliussi in the movie “Fourplay.”
(Parade Deck Films)

You could excuse the couples’ brunch micro-indie “Fourplay” for its small-bore, one-set theatricality, if it weren’t for the fact that it betrays little understanding of how good plays work as both writing and stagecraft.

Brooklynites Anna (Tammy Blanchard) and Tom (Bryan Greenberg) — a tightly wound restaurateur and her adoring if skittish squeeze — talent agent Joe (Dominic Fumusa) and his New Age-y wife Susan (Emanuela Galliussi) gather for an overlong course of hipster chat and knowing jokes that segues abruptly into a slapped-together entrée of secrets, recriminations and barking.

And if you can’t guess at least a few of those last-minute revelations, that’s OK, because though they may be predictable, they also make little sense. Director Dean Ronalds, who wrote the screenplay with Galliussi and Francesco Plazza, undercuts his Cassavetes-armwrestles-Albee ambitions with the trite decision to shoot the whole thing as a single, awkward, hallway-traversing, intimacy-leeching take. (We really are at peak all-in-one-shot cinema — it’s lost all purpose.)

“Fourplay” is in black-and-white too, for no ostensible reason. The actors gamely strive for conversational naturalism, but what they say matters little because you never sense anything other than an environment rigged to explode, rather than nurtured into emotional relevance.

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‘Fourplay’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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