Director: Jonathan Parker
Writer: Jonathan Parker, Catherine DiNapoli
Producers: Catherine DiNapoli, Andreas Olavarria, Matt Luber
Starring: Jonathan Parker, Marley Shelton, Eion Bailey, Lucy Punch, Vinnie Jones
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 96 min.
Ever feel like you don’t really “get” modern art? That it’s pretentious, full of itself and the people that make it? If you responded yes to any of these statements, (Untitled) is just the movie for you.
Adam Goldberg stars as Adrian Jacobs, a music school graduate trying to make a name for himself in the music business. He has a plan: if he doesn’t get anywhere in three years, he’s going to kill himself. How… dramatic. Eion Bailey plays Adrian’s brother Josh, a successful artist whose artwork has been selling well to businesses looking to adorn their walls as well as a hotel chain who has been buying up his pieces for various locations across the US. His girlfriend Madeleine (Marley Shelton) owns the art gallery that represents Josh but she refuses to host an opening for him, finding his work “too commercial,” she peddles his stuff out of the back office while using her space to show the modern works of the up-and-coming and undiscovered, a mish-mash of garish and pointless artists.
The trio find themselves in a pickle when Josh brings Madeleine to one of Adrian’s performances. Madeleine loves Adrian’s noise and praises his work, stroking his ego with comments about how he has vision and talent but the wrong audience. She invites him to perform at an upcoming opening and is instantly smitten, inviting him home and starting a relationship with him, leaving Josh out in the cold. Though this relationship plays through (Untitled), the film is at its best when it plays in the edges with the various characters that frequent Madeleine’s gallery. There’s the gullible art collector who fills his home with the strange, regurgitating what the gallery salespeople have told him about certain pieces and artists, the crazy artists (there are two but Vinnie Jones plays the best of the duo, a wacky figure who works with dead animals), the full-of-themselves critics and vying art gallery owners.
Parker’s film also brings up loads of other ideas about modern art and what makes something art. There are laughable attempts at providing answers but for the most part, the film simply introduces and often pokes fun at ideas, even providing explanations which are, in and of themselves, jokes. Yet, through all the biting commentary about the art world, Parker and regular co-writer Catherine DiNapoli end the film on a positive note which actually does a fairly good job of explaining what makes art “art.”
Though I only laughed out loud once, I did really enjoy the subdued comedy of (Untitled) and the smart script which brilliantly explores and exploits the art world with satire.
(Untitled) has been available on DVD from Alliance Films since Tuesday, September 21st.
DVD Extras: None.
Click “play” to see the trailer:
(Untitled) on Flixter