Peep World Movie Review: Father Knows Worst
A twisted new take on notions about the naked truth, whether of dirty laundry dysfunctional families or local porn dives, Peep World pits too much information panic against murkier, need to know tabloid obsessions. And while exposing with satirical mischief, the more private, embarrassing dark side in one upscale extended family, the multiple pitfalls of public metaphorical mooning.
Relatively minor co-star Sarah Silverman upstages the nutty ensemble antics as Cheri, sulking older sister of Nathan (Ben Schwartz), a narcissistic nerd who's just written a bestseller novel Peep World, with an abundance of too close for comfort characters revealing a multitude of Meyerwitz clan dirty laundry family secrets. And as Peep World is being turned into a movie right outside Cheri's window, she's setting in motion a lawsuit against her 'mistake baby' younger brother - a last apparent accident in a line of four offspring - while seeking comfort from her born again Jews For Jesus platonic boyfriend.
Further inflaming Cheri as the family is about to gather at an annual birthday dinner for emotionally selfish, filthy rich realtor dad Henry (Ron Rifkin), is that the young starlet playing her in the movie is Henry's latest girlfriend (Alicia Witt). And as the narrative proceedings first commence at the brawling banquet, then back up to where all the family misery first began, we're also introduced to languishing starter ex-wife Marilyn (Lesley Ann Warren), and the other two bottom feeder male siblings.
There's oldest son, Jack (Michael C. Hall), an architect whose business is taking a dive, and after whom said novel is cryptically named. And Joel (Rainn Wilson), a failed lawyer whose only current client is girlfriend Mary (Taraji P. Henson), and her divorce suit. And whom he brings along to the dinner, along with peeved loan sharks whose outstanding tab he hopes will be picked up by Dad. Meanwhile, Nathan the detested novelist shows up late, after dealing with an extended erectile dysfunction issue that goes on for far too long, both for him and the audience.
If the plot of Peep World seems overly cluttered in a story with no less than two arch villains - father and son - the narrative is surprisingly slim. Not to mention that few of the novel's details bugging this family and inciting audience nosier instincts, are ever revealed by somewhat secretive director Barry W. Blaustein, who cut his comedic teeth on SNL and The Nutty Professor. But leave it to supremely saucy Silverman to keep the provocative pace moving along, even when Blaustein doesn't.
3 [out of 4 ] stars
Prairie Miller is a NY multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio, and on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express. Read more reviews by Prairie Miller. Contact her through NewsBlaze.
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