Tuesday, July 23

Dinner party has death on main menu


Friday, April 5, 1996

By Lael Loewenstein

Daily Bruin Contributor

There’s an intriguing premise to Stacy Title’s wicked satire:
What if a group of liberal intellectuals decided to rid the world
of small-minded folks, among them bigots, fascists and
anti-environmentalists?

A coterie of Iowa grad students host a weekly dinner party,
regularly inviting a new guest to debate their views. One week a
stranger (Bill Paxton) appears and, mid-appetizer, starts spouting
white supremacist dogma. When he turns violent, they kill him. As
the African-American Ph.D. student (Courtney Vance) insists, the
act was one of self-defense, physical as much as intellectual.

At once appalled and propelled by their crime, the housemates
decide to continue inviting ­ and killing ­ various
offensive guests. Soon a makeshift graveyard grows in their
backyard. The weekly guest roster includes a homophobic preacher
(Charles Durning), a misogynist (Mark Harmon), and eventually a
rabid Rush Limbaugh-type (a crafty Ron Perlman, in an entertaining
performance).

At first, the friends find their experiment reinvigorates their
libidos and energizes their creative drives. But soon it has spun
wildly out of control, like the tomato patch they’ve planted on the
fresh earth outside.

Dan Rosen’s literate script that poses some intelligent
questions about the merits of political correctness and
self-righteous do-gooders. It’s tautly helmed by first-time feature
director Title and well-acted by the able cast, particularly Vance
and Annabeth Gish. But the film runs into trouble by quickly
exhausting its one idea ­ and by taking too long to get to its
inevitable conclusion.

FILM: "The Last Supper." Directed by Stacy Title. Starring
Cameron Diaz, Annabeth Gish, Ron Perlman and Courtney Vance. Grade:
B+

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