Anniversary Party, The
R
Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: -3

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming co-write, co-direct and co-star as Joe and Sally Therrian, a Hollywood couple celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary. They invite close friends and their next door neighbors as well as Joe's leading lady from his new movie, Skye (Gwyneth Paltrow). As the drinks flow, superficial, shallow well-wishers' toasts to Joe and Sally become brutally honest assessments of the couple. Young, beautiful Skye brings a celebration gift to the couple enough Ecstasy pills for all the guests. As the festivities disintegrate, the story reveals that the happy couple have just recently reconciled, Sally's acting career has taken a nose-dive, and their shaky marriage is heading for another crisis. THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY, shot on digital video, plays like a home video as it eavesdrops on bitter arguments and records vulgar, drug-induced behavior. Most viewers will find their own amateurish home videos more entertaining.

Although Joe and Sally appear to love each other intensely, their egos, insecurities and professional pressures create havoc in their marriage. Sally has already had one nervous breakdown and Joe, caught up in his current fame, is insensitive to her fragile emotional state. Their sex life is implied as the two are shown in bed twice, intertwined among the bed sheets. As if the party liquor were not loosening tongues and behavior, the party-goers use drugs to help shed any remaining inhibitions. Two of the women strip to their underwear and cavort shamelessly in the pool. One of the husbands, overcome with feelings of failure, attempts suicide by drowning. Marriage partners turn on each other, yelling obscenities and insults. In the midst of all this frivolity, Sally confesses to Joe that she aborted their chance for a child. Drugs, alcohol and incessant obscenities make THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY a depressing affair with ugly behavior as "beautiful" couples search for meaning in their lives.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Fine Line Features, 888 7th Ave., New York, NY 10106

Summary
Crude Language: Many (11) times Mild 1, moderate 10
Obscene Language: Many (65) times - F-word 55, s-word 7, other 3
Profanity: Many (13) times Regular 4 (GD 2, J, JC); Exclamatory 9
Violence: Once mild (husband slaps wife)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied twice (married couple in bed)
Nudity: Once (prolonged breast nudity at swimming pool party); Near Nudity - Few times (low-cut, tight fitting dresses emphasize figure)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Joke about unconventional sex
Drug Abuse: Alcohol and drug use continuous (Ecstasy used by party guests)
Other: Wife tells husband about abortion; man attempts suicide in pool; couples bicker and exchange insults
Running Time: 115 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)