I'll start by saying I watched this entire movie with no urge whatsoever to drink. I definitely had a few "...Really?" moments, but remained accepting for the most part. That's a big complement. So many films of this caliber these days are filled with too much, ugh what's the word... Yes; "Trying". Trying too hard to be something great or thrilling or funny or deep. It can be overkill. Director Eric Etebari shows how such a silly, trivial thing can affect life in a big way with "Snapshot".
The plot surrounds former paparazzi photographer Thomas Grady, who manages to take an extremely up close and personal shot of the First Lady('s goods). Now everyone is after it. The First Lady (Joyce DeWitt) and the President want it obviously for their reputation and dignity, the public for the humility, even Grady's girlfriend's punk rebel cousin..? (Nina Transfield) wants it for the money. The shot somehow makes everyone face their true nature. Grady faces tension with his father (Robert Loggia) who's only bitterness is because Thomas didn't become a fireman like he, his father, or his other son Eddie (David Chokachi). Grady's girlfriend Arianna faces her insecurities about Thomas' faithfulness. If only the First Lady knew all the good her scandalous crotch photo was doing!
Weird story line aside, I give kudos to Etebari's film style. Some of the transitions seem to evoke more drug use than there was, but the internal conflicts it seemed to convey was rendered nicely. I believe the plot, while at first glance is roughly an insignificant and uninteresting one, actually worked. It proved to be uniquely original, and evoked a few morals as result. It reflects how a picture can speak louder than words, and how they can cause mental, even physical damage. We even had a twist at the end partnered with a small cliffhanger.
There were some cast choices that brought me in and up-ed the intrigue. I mean, Robert Loggia- we remember "Independence Day" and his lovely role and dance number alongside Tom Hanks in "Big". What brought you here, my man? And why? Then there's Joyce DeWitt- to be honest, I thought she was done after "Three's Company". And she's what, ten years older than Michael Pare, who plays her husband the President? Maybe you should have been done, Joyce... Her appearance alone with that harsh dark hair and eye makeup was distracting. However, with what I assume to be a moderately low budget, it was quite the surprise. There were definitely a few "hard to take you seriously" roles. That photography shoot director couldn't scream any more "Gay" than if he were on his way to a Barbara Streisand concert carrying, in a purse, his teacup poodle named "Cher". PS ladies- there's a fireman photo-shoot. And lots of abs. Might be because at least two of them were on "Baywatch". So there's you're eye candy, ladies. Back to our cast.. There's a gorgeous doctor who proves incredibly unconvincing. While her look is great for screen, I've never seen a doctor with flowing salon-done blonde hair, full face of makeup and flats. Our fit-for-porn actress working in the photography store is beyond unconvincing. I get she was supposed to be pretty to work with that side story, but it was more or less annoying, because she doesn't fit. She looks more the type to fit spread eagle on a fridge with the heating and air conditioning guy working her like an inverted plunger, the guy played by Evan Stone.. PORN! She's fit for porn. Oh- and the boring rebel teenage angst radiating off the twenty-something year old cousin and her dead beat boyfriend was extremely exhausting and obligatory. Their petty scheming proved to be an issue all of 3 minutes. And our leading lady's (Angela Gots) flashback to her father writing a sentimental letter, though cute, was overly dramatized for what it was (though that blame falls more with the directorial edits).
With the few mishaps and poor acting choices aside, these filmmakers seem to be on a moderately good path. With this type of film, there needs to be more focus on realism, and not just having a name actor or pretty face. There were a few too many layers of story. I was left with unanswered questions for some, and yawns for others. However, in the end, it more or less seemed to come together. So once they develop their skills a bit, I'd be interested to see more of their work.
reviewed by Corinne