NEW SUIT is a small, well-photographed independent movie that takes a pungent satirical look at the lies and deceit permeating Hollywood. It builds to a hilarious climax that, nevertheless, peters out slightly at the very end.
Jordan Bridges plays a young screenwriter, Kevin, who comes to Los Angeles to make his fortune. He strikes up a romantic relationship with a beautiful young producer, Marianne (played by Marisa Coughlan), who’s also trying to make a name for herself. Marianne helps Kevin get a job at Kingdom Pictures reading scripts for one of his idols, director Muster Hansau (played superbly by Dan Hedaya). Two years later, however, Kevin is still stuck in the job, and he and Marianne are no longer together.
One day, during lunch, Kevin gets upset with the superior attitudes of his male lunch buddies, who are wildly praising a particular script even though none of them has probably read it. Kevin invents an imaginary script, “New Suit,” that he claims is even better, and praises the screenwriter, Jordan Strawberry, Jordan being the name of the ice cream server Kevin’s just visited and Strawberry being the kind of ice cream he’s just bought. Not wanting to be upstaged, all of his buddies agree with Kevin about the non-existent script.
Kevin’s private little joke comes back to haunt him when everyone around Hollywood suddenly starts talking about the “New Suit” script and Jordan Strawberry, which has mysteriously become Jackson Strawberry. Even the people in his office start talking about them. Things go from bad to worse when Marianne, Kevin’s ex-girlfriend, actually tries to sell the script as Jackson Strawberry’s agent. Can Kevin save Marianne from herself and from the Hollywood hype machine that has clearly gone out of control?
NEW SUIT starts too slowly but picks up very quickly when everyone in Hollywood begins talking about Kevin’s imaginary script. Some of the best, most hilarious, scenes come when Kevin tries to tell some of his friends and colleagues that the script for “New Suit” doesn’t exist, but nobody believes him because they are so used to being lied to and cheated in Hollywood. The story reaches a climax when the head of Kingdom Pictures, a Jeffrey Katzenberg look-alike played by Paul McCrane who plays Dr. Romano on TV’s ER, tries to broker a deal for the imaginary “New Suit” script to give to Kevin’s own boss, who desperately wants to make sure his rival doesn’t snatch the script away from him.
NEW SUIT brilliantly captures the lies, deceit, pride, jealousy, and perversion rampant in much of Hollywood. Everyone there is so used to lying and bragging, the movie says, that they refuse to recognize the truth, even when it hits them in the proverbial kisser. Kevin’s boss in fact hears about the “New Suit” script from his personal prostitute, who enjoys going around town touting different scripts to all the moguls she services. Everyone in the cast does an excellent job of presenting this biting material, including the two young leads. The movie falters, however, during the denouement that follows the story’s climax, which could have used a few more laughs and a stronger moral victory. In the end, Kevin decides that personal integrity is more important than fame and fortune, but his decision also results in him deciding to just leave Hollywood behind him. This decision is not fully satisfying because it seems defeatist and abrupt.
Regrettably, NEW SUIT contains some very strong foul and crude language and references to sex and drugs. It’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t turn their sharp wit as strongly against these other kinds of wickedness. For, once you decide to travel down the path toward truth and integrity, you can’t stop shining a light on all the other ills that surround us in this fallen world.
Thus, although NEW SUIT has some strong moral qualities, it doesn’t fully measure up as a positive redemptive work.
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SUMMARY: In NEW SUIT, a frustrated screenwriter invents a non-existent script that soon becomes the talk of Hollywood. NEW SUIT is a small, well-photographed independent movie that takes a pungent satirical look at Hollywood and builds to a hilarious climax, but is diminished by a weak ending, strong foul language, and references to sexual immorality and drugs.
(BB, Ab, Ho, Pa, FR, LLL, S, NN, A, DD, MM) Strong moral worldview with a strong moral premise, but containing some immoral R-rated content, including light homosexual references; jokes about New Age religious practices in Hollywood; about 70 obscenities, three strong profanities and seven light profanities; implied fornication, crude sex talk, and references to prostitution; upper female nudity, rear female nudity, and upper male nudity; alcohol; smoking, marijuana use, and other drug references; and, lying, deceit, practical joke backfires, pride, boasting, and jealousy.