Review: ‘Live at the Foxes Den’ channels Broadway

Perhaps "Live at the Foxes Den" was never intended for Broadway, but actor Jackson Rathbone brings an unmistakably musical-theater quality to the proceedings.

“Live at the Foxes Den” comes off like some long-unproduced Broadway musical finally dusted off when someone raised enough money to mount it as a film production instead. It seems unintentionally passé, and not only because the eponymous establishment is smoker-friendly and houses a rotary phone. The film’s compassion for the upper class bearing such worldly burdens as nepotism and estate money seems out of touch post-recession.

Jackson Rathbone of “The Twilight Saga” stars as Bobby Kelly, a young attorney coasting at work thanks to his engagement to the daughter of the firm’s managing partner. But Bobby feels compelled to jettison his cushy life for a lounge-singing residency at the run-down Foxes Den, where everyone just happens to be plagued with legal woes.

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The screenplay, by Jack Holmes — who also stars as accompanist Chad Barrows — and first-time director Michael Kristoff, phones in much of its drama through song lyrics. Eyeballs will inevitably roll as the film sets a bar brawl to “Sabre Dance” and an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to the sea chantey “Drunken Sailor.”

Perhaps “Foxes Den” was never intended for Broadway, but Rathbone brings an unmistakably musical-theater quality to the proceedings. Though more likely cast for his musical inclination than acting chops, his song-styling conjures up less Harry Connick Jr. and more Michael Feinstein. Selections from the Great American Songbook here sound like show tunes rather than standards, and it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.


‘Live at the Foxes Den’

MPAA rating:

Running time: 1 hours, 43 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle’s Royal, West Los Angeles; Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, Pasadena; and Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica. Also on VOD.