The Perfect Host; not a Perfect Movie

The Perfect Host stars David Hyde Pierce as Warwick Wilson, in an outstanding performance as a first-class creep. He has gone a long way from Niles on Frasier, our first cerebral goofball to see on television. As a psychotherapist, I always reveled in that show and the intellectually snobbery between he and his brother. In this role as Warwick, he has stepped into a new dimension (perhaps he has done this in another role, but this is my first time to see him in this type of character portrayal) and mesmerized me the entire time. The dissociative identity disorder idea was flabby in the storyline but made sense, nonetheless. He could have been schizophrenic as well, but I think the writer wanted to portray DID instead.

While he did a superb job in acting, the storyline was weak in parts. It confused me so much partly because I could not hear a lot of the lines. I have a brand new “plasma” TV I think they are called and find that the sound was better on my old-fashioned Magnavox. Why do I need to put the volume up to 54-60? Modern TV and movies should have figured out how to let the sound technician excel but instead they focus more on high definition. If you can’t hear it, what is the point? I do not like Terrance Malick films, but it might as well be when you are wondering “What did they say?” The other part is that the story line missed out by NOT explaining things.

People just happen to end up at his house? Considering the location in Los Angeles, I find this highly unlikely. And they all just happen to go for the mailbox and get the idea about the postcard? Degenerates are just not that intelligent and I don’t think that criminals would always go for the same thought process. This was a dumb idea but my boyfriend and I went for it just because we had no other choice.

David Hyde Pierce’s walk and his passive sneer that was played to the camera during close-ups did add to this role. I enjoyed his joie de vivre personality which was morbid for sure. I would have liked to have had a background to understand why he was this person. I would have liked to have known who the other people were in his photo album. I kept expecting him to tell a story somehow, or to get a background of his character. Instead, we are taught more about the criminal and sucked into some lame liver transplant need for his girlfriend. I think that was the reason. As a psychotherapist, I need to see the background of the mentally deranged, not the criminal. I want to be able to believe he is the reason why he is. Definitely a “show don’t tell,” but sometimes you need to tell it as well.

Nathaniel Parker played a very, very weak detective role. I did not even know this was him until after the movie was over. With the American accent (which he nailed) and the very slow-moving scenes with him in it, he came across as a really bad American actor. He is NOT. He is an outstanding British actor from The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and many other mystery shows as well as Masterpiece Theater types such as Wide Sargasso Sea (the prequel to Jane Eyre). I love watching him in British films and TV but found this role to be lacking in storyline and collaboration. It seemed almost as if the director wanted David Hyde Pierce to stand out and everyone else to look like they just came along for the ride. Almost like watching the bit part character actors in Bruno Cremer’s version of Maigret. Although, in the French TV series, it is humorous how Maigret is the intelligent Commissioner and the French villagers and his staff are simpletons under his tutelage. That makes more sense for the time period and locations. In this film, it seems idiotic and foolish.

Nathaniel Parker is not a weak actor and to put him in the corner like a two-bit character is almost embarrassing. Especially the ending where we are led to believe he is easily fooled by the Lieutenant. I cannot imagine the LAPD are that naïve, especially when they are dealing with local and international gangs on a daily basis. They certainly have more training than the cops here in Columbus, Ohio who did not even know what “tagging” was when I reported this near my office.

Helen Reddy is a good nosy neighbor but needed to be a little more like Gladys from Bewitched. It was fun to see her as an actress, but I kept singing “I am Woman,” in my head and wondering why she wasn’t a little stronger in her role.

I had no sympathy for the criminal, actor Clayne Crawford, and really didn’t care what happened to him. He was an ignorant criminal by far but had no power to draw me in as a psychotherapist. His girlfriend, actress Megahn Perry (what is with this ridiculous spelling), it must have been her first role? She was slow in speaking her lines at points and I wandered why the director, Nick Tomnay, did not do another take. Perhaps he was sleeping with her than and could not focus properly on the scene. Her lines came out feebly, as if she had just read them and did not give the words much thought. She was good at being sexy and seductive and faking her pain but lousy in conflict. The latter is what makes you a great actor.

Unfortunately, while I loved the idea of the film concept, and I was fascinated by David Hyde Pierce’s acting, I was too busy asking my boyfriend questions throughout the film and after. He liked that it made him think about things and so he was okay with this but both of us thought it was lame altogether. It had the makings of a good suspense but failed to follow through completely. To Mr. Tomnay, a film is the product of all the actors looking good together and collaborating like a team. It is not a brilliant film when we only have one great actor selling the film. A good watch for an argument amongst the film community but not worth a second screening. While I am still thinking about it, it is because I am trying to figure out how could this have happened? Or why did that happen? A Perfect Host but not a Perfect Film.

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