#REVIEW: “DINNER WITH FRIENDS”
By Mr. Will Wong
Also known as FRIENDSGIVING, Comedienne/Writer/Director Nicol Paone makes her directorial debut in Thanksgiving-set DINNER WITH FRIENDS (the Film’s Canadian title). The Comedy centers on best friends Molly (Malin Åkerman) and Abby (Kat Dennings) as they plan a get-together for a holiday dinner that results in several antics as friends and old flames surface.
New mother Molly is ready to divorce her husband and is currently seeing Jeff (an often half-naked Jack Donnelly) when her mother Helen (Jane Seymour) decides without warning to invite an old flame of Molly‘s, Gunnar (Ryan Hansen), to the dinner. Abby “came out” not too long ago and is wallowing in equal parts sexual frustration and self-pity, seeing others around her find love but not her. As unresolved matters see the light of day, this Thanksgiving might be just a little bit different than others for Molly and Abby as they are forced to confront issues holding them back in their own lives and truly being themselves again.
The jokes are crude and often orifice-obsessed, which is great if that’s your brand of humour. While a few too many storylines and characters detract from what should have been the clear focus of the Film – the friendship between Molly and Abby and their struggles – the onslaught of quirky guests, including a quick appearance from a trio of Fairy Gaymothers Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes and Fortune Feimster, add sprinkles of humour. This keeps the energy going in this raunchy holiday jaunt, although we wish it went to deeper places exploring the bond between our two leads. That being said, Åkerman (who wears a Producer’s cap here) and Dennings pair well together, the latter who has a knack for commanding her scenes. And nobody does a mother-daughter rivalry for male attention like screen legend Seymour.
VVS Films release DINNER WITH FRIENDS digitally and on-demand Wednesday, November 10, 2020.