The Last Days of Disco

Bomb Rating: 

Most directors wouldn't dare make a movie based on such flimsy subject matter. (Director Whit) Stillman, meanwhile, has found a way to make three.

This is typical Whit Stillman. With the trilogy beginning with "Metropolitan" in 1990, continuing with "Barcelona" in 1994 and ending, thankfully, with this movie, the enigmatic director has firmly established that his generation's primary mission in life is to talk for hours on end about topics of absolutely no consequence. Most directors wouldn't dare make a movie based on such flimsy subject matter. Stillman, meanwhile, has found a way to make three.

In this film, a couple of recent Hampshire grads, Alice (Chloe Sevigny) and Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale), hook up with a bunch of slightly older guys (played by every guy who's ever been in a previous Stillman film) and discuss the merits of group socializing versus pairing off. There's a vague story about officials' investigation of a club where Des (Chris Eigeman) works, but it's unveiled only at the end, when Stillman realizes that his viewers have gone catatonic and need to be jolted into lucidity so that ushers can more easily shoo them out of the theater.

Whit Stillman is another one of these guys who uses the same actors in the same roles in every film. Eigeman apparently has earned the privilege of playing the perpetual asshole. I think they've probably got his schtick down so good that Stillman only has to say "a little bit more asshole, Chris" or "a little bit less asshole, Chris." They may even have hand signals for all I know, like two fingers for more asshole and one finger for less.

Kate Beckinsale does a swell imitation of Parker Posey throughout the entire film, marking it as some kind of independent-film hand-me-down -- "Oh, we couldn't get the real Parker Posey. She wanted to be paid in money. So instead we found this English chick who will impersonate her for free as long as we fix her teeth first." Actually, it fits well, given that "The Last Days of Disco" is but an impersonation of a real movie.

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