The only thing I can figure about the title The House of Yes is that the children (now adults) can get away with anything, that “yes” is always assumed. But this conclusion just doesn’t quite make sense, but then nothing else has either.
There is a hurricane in coastal Virginia. Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) brings his fiancé Lesly (Tori Spelling) to introduce her to the family on Thanksgiving. Marty is the twin brother of Jackie-O (Parker Posey). Jackie-O is obsessed with her brother and insane. Though there are several examples, the mother (Genevieve Bujold) says it best: “I have to go baste the turkey and hide the kitchen knives.” Anthony (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is the younger brother and is nearly as unbalanced as Jackie-O.
Apparently Marty is relatively sane when in New York City, but when he returns home, he begins to slip back into the role as the most stable (barely) member of the Pascal family. Lesly tries to bring some sense into what she sees first as just spoiled rich people then realizes that they are all quite insane; then she feels trapped.
There are too many secrets covered in 80 minutes that they would all unravel if I mentioned even one of them.
I had a bit of a problem with Ms. Spelling. She can pull off a ditzy person well enough, but Lesly needed to be a bit less ditzy and play a slightly more astute person (the lines do not have to be delivered as someone silly) this interpretation of Lesly, either by Ms. Spelling or director Mark Waters was a poor choice. In a similar fashion I had problems with Mr. Hamilton. His delivery was very flat. Considering the performances of the others, his lines fell like bricks.
Every other actor was excellent. Mr. Prinze played a purposely absentminded fop beautifully. Ms. Posey can play insane or off balance better than anyone else I’ve seen. She is typecast for this reason, but she certainly stands out in this film (it may have been the one to define her as the go-to insane girl). Ms. Bujold was fantastic. All of the banter is driven entirely by Ms. Posey, but to counterbalance her Ms. Bujold is just as funny but in a slower and dryer way. Her delivery is so subtle that it often takes a few moments to realize just how funny she is.
Wendy MacLeod who wrote the play on which the movie is based never let more than about 30 seconds go by without something insane happening or being said. Except for Mr. Hamilton’s delivery, the film is one that never lets you go; it is funny from beginning to end. The banter is extremely quick, especially Jackie-O’s. There will be times when you will want to back a scene up because almost everything she says is funny; it is also delivered with the speed of a good auctioneer.
The Pascals are a dark comedy (but always comedy) version of Southern Gothic plot which can sometimes have a bit of humor. I imagine them as a funny analog to the near tragic Compsons in at least 3 Faulkner novels.
I’ve said this before about movies that are out of the mainstream. Though you have very little time to do so, relax into it and it will not only make sense, it should leave you hurting when it is over. Well, that is true if you are a fan of dark comedy; if you aren’t, don’t watch this one.
What did you think of this review?