As glamorous as Hollywood depicts itself, it isn’t the place I’d primarily want to live and work in. Full of competing egos and backstabbing power plays, worthy of the dramas they specialise in. Ample attempts at brown-nosing and back-stabbing solely to advance their interests. No wonder it is a place frequently lampooned by those who live there. In 2002, a feature film focused on the frustrations of the flashy facade, while getting to the roots and telling a tale as old as time, in New Suit.
Kevin Taylor is a talented but struggling Hollywood writer, he lacks the connections/experience to get his material working. He seeks employment at Kingdom Pictures as a temp job, but 18 months later is still there. Frustrated at his situation, and the calibre of Hollywood decision-makers. He Keyser Sözes up Jordan Strawberry, a kid who has a wonderful new script that is turning heads. Taylor takes much glee out of seeing his friends fawning praise over a script they couldn’t have read. Only trouble is, this fictitious script starts to turn heads at Kingdom Pictures and the rival studios. With vying interest, try to make The New Suit the flagship of their upcoming line-up. Just how long will this ruse reign?
The frequent depictions and vivid personalities drawn to the industry are the film’s bread and butter. From abusive behaviours to the sycophantic staff, affairs with underage women, to futile attempts at appearing youthful/dapper. All the gossip that you hear about is depicted here as fact, with doses of comedy sprinkled throughout. The impetus of the fictitious script is a fun sequence of events. Getting the name Strawberry from his favourite type of Ice Cream, and the name New Suit, from his boss’s awful new suit, is a clever touch, one that ties into the story’s folktale origins.
One of the select few roles that Blair Witch veteran,
Heather Donahue Rei Hance, appeared in before leaving the intoxicating allure of the limelight altogether. Jordan Bridges is a fine fit as typical somewhat relatable protagonist Kevin Taylor, who, despite being on the lowly rung of the Hollywood ladder, acts wiser than everybody in the room. Marisa Coughlan also stars her as Kevin’s ex, a shrewd player in La La Land, who sees New Suit as a perfect opportunity to advance her career. By pretending she’s the hot agent of Strawberry, (oblivious to the fact, that Strawberry doesn’t exist), but ends up in-to-deep when this revelation is revealed.
With a well-known target like the film industry, New Suit’s simple but effective approach does work. Yes, it joins the many Emperor’s New Clothes fables, that showed the hypocritical impolitic nature of big-shot big wigs (see also Being There et al.) The New Suit feels as slick and witty as targets in its satirical scope picture themselves, of reinventing some age-old fable for a flashier modern age. It might be worth checking it out if you’re one of those types of people who find that seeing is indeed believing.
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