AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2012
By Don Simpson | October 22, 2012
Director: Ishai Setton
Writer: Jim Beggarly
Starring: Laura Prepon, Bryan Greenberg, Dreama Walker, Matt Bush, Tate Ellington, Amber Stevens, Pepper Binkley, Catherine Reitman, Baron Vaughn, Jillian Clare, Adam Chambers, Alex Anfanger, Jace Mclean, Adam Michael Rose, Jesse Steccato, Brittany Renee Finamore, Vito Cottone, Barak Hardley
It is Jennifer’s (Laura Prepon) 30th birthday and her housemate Stan (Matt Bush) has a fabulous party planned for her. Unfortunately, Jennifer has just recently discovered that her boyfriend Paul (Bryan Greenberg) is a total playa who has been screwing around with at least one of her friends. More than likely, the other woman (or women) will be at the party — and as Jennifer’s bad luck will have it, so will Paul. For all intents and purposes, this party will probably become one of the worst nights of Jennifer’s life…
While the narrative trope of having a story take place all within the confines of one location has been done plenty of times — especially in the world of independent cinema — few directors have restricted the camera to one room for an entire film. Director Ishai Setton’s aptly titled The Kitchen does just that. Setton toys with the concept that parties often find themselves rooted in the kitchen. That is certainly the case for Jennifer’s birthday party, during which the kitchen serves as the epicenter for gossip, conflict and emotions-run-amok. Characters come and go, but who cares what is happening elsewhere when such juicy stuff is continuously happening all in this one space.
This Altman-esque ensemble film focuses on the frail and fracturable interpersonal relationships of twenty and thirtysomethings. For the most part, the characters are jaded and selfish, sardonic and sarcastic; they keep secrets from their lovers, family and friends. Hot-button topics such as abortion are batted around in conversations sometimes to shock and other times for laughs, but rarely to be seriously discussed. Despite their abrasive personalities, it is difficult not to enjoy the impressively written female characters such as Jennifer, Penny (Dreama Walker) and Pam (Catherine Reitman). It is always nice to see the ladies get the stronger, more developed parts, in a film.