Some Body Review

May 03, 2002 | 5:28am EDT

At a party Samantha--a 20-something grade-school teacher in Los Angeles--awakens to the fact that she wants out of her seven-year relationship with boyfriend Anthony. She dumps Anthony says goodbye with difficulty to their loving dog Dobey and moves into a new apartment. Fighting the new instability in her life Samantha finds solace with her family in Texas and in L.A. embarks upon a series of unsatisfying liaisons. These include a one-night stand with new neighbor Billy and a longer fling with yuppie Bobby who soon returns to his current girlfriend. In addition to playing musical beds Samantha performs nobly with her young students parties hard indulges in mood-altering substances and leaves frantic messages on Anthony's answering machine that are ignored because Anthony has found another woman Eve. Samantha is also hounded by the menacing Tony T from another of her brief encounters. Samantha and Anthony eventually get back together but the outlook seems brightest for Dobey.

Stephanie Bennett as Samantha also was a co-writer and producer of Some Body and she gives this her all. In addition to providing voice-overs and commentary to an unidentified off-screen character her on-screen performance is fraught with emotion. Bennett as Samantha (or perhaps as herself because much of Some Body is apparently autobiographical) cries abundantly and has the signature nervous giggle of a desperate "somebody" grabbing for life's meaning by way of seeking true love. Samantha engages because Bennett tries so hard and does achieve rare moments that ring with authentic intimacy and feeling. Jeramy Guillory is suitably boring as the nice but dull boyfriend Anthony. The supporting actors while hardly memorable at least don't embarrass themselves. Dobey the dog however in his debut bow (wow-wow) gets the blue ribbon.

Director Henry Barrial who co-wrote the script with Bennett goes digital here with a stylistic vengeance assaying just about every cinematic trick in the book--slow motion fast motion time-shrinking montages weird angles and hand-held shots meant to suck us into the drama. But the directorial decision that most undermines here is the messy mix of the nervously captured fiction narrative crossed with a mockumentary style whose documentary-like interviews and voice-overs may or may not be real-life commentary. Some Body is largely just another slight digital exercise that allows filmmakers and actors alike to try out some neat things on the cheap. With entertainment not the focus "somebody's" gotta pay and it's the audience.

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