Written by Deric Haddad, Richard Martini, Irwin M. Rappaport, and Susan Shapiro
Directed by Richard Martini
Hollywood has been accused at times of taking itself too seriously. This is often true when a spate of “deep” films comes out, especially when you have celebrities preaching on the environment and driving around in Hummers, or campaigning against wind farms because they will ruin their “nice view”.
Into this culture comes the film Cannes Man. Writer and Director Rich Martini created this parody based on his experience at Cannes. The people here are portrayed as self-important and easy to influence, just by throwing around other celebrity names.
Frank Rhinoslavasky (portrayed by Francesco Quinn) is a bumbling courier and aspiring writer who winds up at Cannes after delivering props to a horror-film studio. While there he runs into Sy Lerner (portrayed by Seymour Cassel) who has just made a bet with a friend that he can take someone off the street and turn them into a success at Cannes. Soon Frank is the “Eliza Doolittle” as he’s being groomed, dressed, and marketed as a hot young writer.
“Frank Rhino” is now being touted as a hot writer with a to-die-for script that everyone who’s anyone wants to be a part of. Sy sells an interest in the production of his script sight unseen to many people, and signs on stars to be a part of the alleged production as well. Meanwhile he actually doesn’t have a product at all but is using the entire scenario to swindle various Hollywood types out of beaucoup dollars all on the premise of being a part of one of the hottest films to come along in some time. The film is, of course, Cannes Man which he keeps (appropriately) pronouncing Con Man.
I was surprised at how many actors were willing to be a part of Cannes Man and laugh at themselves. Johnny Depp, Treat Williams, Lara Flynn Boyle, Jon Cryer, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich, and Kevin Pollack among others are there to take themselves way too seriously and poke fun at the whole culture of the film industry. In particular, the scenes with Johnny Depp and Jim Jarmusch are hysterical as Sy and Frank meet with them to get them to sign onto the film that doesn’t exist.
In between all of this – which is presented as a flashback – are interviews with those Sy has swindled, who seem to have some difficulty processing the fact that he has actually swindled them, that there is no movie, and they are not about to rake in the bucks.
A large part of Cannes Man seems as if it were filmed on the fly, just by asking various actors and actresses whom Martini found wandering around Cannes to participate in it. The film itself looks rough, but I actually think it was cut in a calculated way to look like this. The reason for that is something you will just have to wait until the end of the film for.
This was filmed in 1995, at a time when everyone wanted to jump on the Indie bandwagon, so it is quite believable that it would be this easy to see people wanting to latch themselves onto a hot commodity the way Sy presents his newest film. Cassel really makes the film as he carries himself throughout it treading the line between a well-regarded Hollywood icon and the smarmy con-man he has become here. I liked both him and his character quite a bit and he brought a smile to my face in every scene he was in.
Not quite as enjoyable is “Frank Rhino”. He’s pretty much a one-trick pony as he wanders through the production trying to be hip, thinking he has the talent to seriously be a Hollywood writer, yet he’s never written anything remotely coherent as a script. He seems to be there to laugh at as he meatier part of the story goes on around him. I am asking “they seriously believe him as a writer” and while that is necessary for the film, it’s overplayed throughout most of it.
While there are moments that are humorous, there wasn’t much actual meat to Cannes Man despite the star power contained within. The most fun were the scenes with Depp and Jarmusch, and beyond that I occasionally cracked a smile. It would be enjoyable if you caught it on cable one rainy afternoon, but it’s nothing to really seek out and spend some money on.
– Director Rich Martini Interview
– Johnny Depp Outtakes
– Additional Trailers
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Categories: Movie Reviews