The Anniversary Party (2001)

What a crazy bunch of celebrities.

Recently uncoupled couple Joe (Allan Cumming) and Sally (Jennifer Jason Leigh) celebrate their anniversary with a group of friends. When Judy (Parker Posey), Cal (Kevin Kline), Sky (Gwyneth Paltrow) and assorted spouses and friends come over, it only takes a few cocktails and a load of ecstasy before the situation careens out of control.

Most films about a group of famous people getting together in a huge party with emotion, truth, and drugs some times the films can be bad even when the main star is directing it. However, this doesn’t turn into bad.

The film isn’t painfully true about Hollywood and the stars that inhabit it, it’s actually more about the fact that these sort of parties could happen at any time of the week. I mean it basically plays out like two movies: one about the couple coming back together, and the celebrities that come to the party.

I mean there are plenty of moments that are genuinely funny, but I just didn’t find it to be overall as hilarious as I was expecting. The screenplay does hold some truth to the story but I felt like there were many times where the film was trying to be satirical, and just ended up not making any sense.

I liked the performances here and I felt like a lot of the cast were doing hilarious riffs on their own celebrity personas. Kline is very funny here and adds another dimension, but the funny one here is Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates. It was funny to see this two back on-screen together after almost two decades from their first time together on Fast Times at Ridgemont High. They have matured so much over the years and it was just a great look to see them back together once again.

I did feel like a lot of the scenes here were just meant for these celebrities to ham it up for the digital hand-held camera. Mostly, the last act which featured everyone having totally tripped on acid and just making dumb remarks and acts. I found nothing at all funny about this act, and most importantly was actually a bit bored cause nothing was quite happening other than all the stars acting all high.

Consensus: Though it has some genuine funny moments and good performances from its cast, the film feels a bit hammed on for the camera, and starts to fall by the last act.


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