★★ | Who’s Afraid Of Vagina Wolf?
Anna has just turned 40. She’s a chubby Cuban/American lesbian filmmaker, lonely, depressed and with more than a generous helping of self-pity that she loves to wallow in. At her birthday party to mark her entry into middle-age she wears a giant vagina costume which may get her the odd performing gig at a trendy museum but it isn’t going to get her laid tonight. Undaunted and back in her friend’s L.A. garage next morning where she has been living for some months now, she maps out her annual birthday goals. They are the exact same ones she has had for several years and never even gets close to achieving. She wants to a) make a movie, b) lose 20lbs and c) find a girlfriend.
She thinks she may start on the third one just a few nights later at a screening of one of her Short Movies which seems to delight a very attractive girl in the audience. Katya is stunningly beautiful but she is also a bit of cold fish and a pretentious cultural snob. Nevertheless in conversation with her later Anna is so mesmerised by the fact that Katya is even spending time with her, she listens to the younger girl egg her on to make a new movie. Anna only agrees as she thinks this may be a way to get into the girl’s panties.
To impress her potential girlfriend Anna decides to make an all-lesbian version of Edward Albee’s classic ‘Who’s Afraid or Virginia Woolf’ and encouraged by Katya describes the project as ‘a post examination of lesbo-phobia’. I’m not sure about that, but what I do know when this film about making a film gets to this part, it’s all downhill from now on. There was the possibility that this remake of one of Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar-winning roles would be good as Guinevere Turner (The L Word) would be playing Martha, but as Katya persuades the love-smitten Anna to tone down all the famous histrionics, then that lost all of its steam too.
This movie is based on the real life of its writer/director/star Anna Margarita Albelo who bears a passing resemblance to Lena Dunham (‘Tiny Furniture’ ‘Girls’) whom I am guessing she may aspire to be.
However, unlike Ms Dunham who is a Golden Globe/Emmy-winning all-rounder gifted powerhouse, the very inexperienced Ms Albelo lacks her fine sense of humour and her talent to act. In this piece, she is sadly her own worst enemy as her stilted writing may have fared slightly better if her role had been played by a real actress.
Full of good intentions this micro-budget movie had some potential especially when the cast also included Carrie Preston (‘The Good Wife’) and also young Agnès Olech who did a fine turn as Julia the girl who really fancied Anna, But for a comedy it took itself way too seriously which really dampened the humour. There is one moment that is funny for the wrong reason when Katya is trying to be deep and profound with Anna and says ‘Remember what Jean-Luc Goddard said and shit on your audience as much as possible!’. For the record, M. Goddard did not say that, but I must admit that occasionally it felt that Anna had believed he did.
For the record, by the end of the year, Anna achieved two of her goals. I’ll leave it to you to find out which two.