Opening Night Film Review: The Behind-The-Scenes Broadway Comedy Hits A High Note — LAFF



If you look at the cast list of OPENING NIGHT, it is an assorted pack of faces who are either prominent in the world of comedy, music drama, and Broadway. Looking closer, you’ll probably see an odd mix of actors who you would never thought would share the screen together (N’Sync’s J.C. Chasez and Ann Heche — really?). But this motley crew of actors somehow melds into a perfect venn diagram that unites comedy nerds, theater geeks and movie buffs for a solid ensemble comedy.

Topher Grace (who is also a producer of the film) stars as Nick, a failed Broadway singer who holds a grudge against the world of theater, yet works as a manager of a musical, One Hit Wonderland, which, as the title suggests is a musical full of one-hit wonders like “Amadeus” by Falco, “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals, and Vanilla Ice’s seminal “Ice Ice Baby.” The movie centers on the opening night of the musical and all of the eccentric actors, stage workers, and musicians behind the scenes. There’s Malcolm (Taye Diggs) Nick’s likable, yet just-arrogant-enough actor; Brooke (Anne Heche), the washed-up Broadway diva who is begrudgingly starring in the play; Mr. Goldmeyer (Rob Riggle), the loud and emotionally abusive man in charge; Brandy (Lesli Margherita) the demanding sexy dance diva who is always butting heads with Malcolm; and finally the star of the show, J.C. Chasez, who does an unbelievably phenomenal of playing a heightened, douchey version of himself.

In the middle of it all is Nick and his relationship with his ex, Chloe (Alona Tal). When she gets pulled into the lead role last minute and when Nick finds out she had a little something-something with another cast member, he starts to re-evaluate his love for her — and the Broadway stage.

In his feature directorial debut, Isaac Rentz makes the best use of his creative vision as a music video director to deliver a vibrant film that delves into the fun, drama, and absurdity that happens backstage at a Broadway musical. In a tight 90 minutes, Rentz handles the fun-filled script by Gerry De Leon and Greg Lisi flawlessly by balancing the main stories with the musical numbers and hysterical gags woven throughout the tight 90 minutes of the movie. With a Sorkinian-esque walk-and-talk pace and urgency, Rentz manages to put the spotlight on Nick, but at the same time, he gives each character a moment to shine — and this assorted bunch of lovable theater weirdos deserve every minute of it.

Opening Night pokes fun at jukebox musicals like Rock of Ages and Mamma Mia! and all the big personalities living their Broadway dreams — but that’s the joy of the movie. It takes the behind-the-scenes theater madness portrayed in Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman, strips it of its Award season sheen and makes it funnier, livelier, less cynical and sets it to the best soundtrack of one-hit wonders you will hear in a movie. Ever.

Score:  3.5 out of 5


Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much , enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.

Twitter: @dinoray

Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff

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