LA Film Festival: Opening Night Review
Opening Night is a theater kid’s dream complete with singing, dancing, vulgarity and humor. The film follows Nick, (Topher Grace) a failed broadway star that is now the production manager on the opening night show called One Hit Wonderland. The show stars JC Chasez as himself singing about the one hit wonders of the world. The film follows the rest of the crew from his ex-girlfriend, Chloe (Alona Tal), best friend Malcolm (Taye Diggs), and even his boss, Mr. Goldmeyer (Rob Riggle) as they embark on the opening night of their show.
This film is INCREDIBLE. The humor in this film had me laughing out loud many times and just smiling from ear to ear. There is quick witted humor and even extremely vulgar lines that are so well delivered and funny. There is a scene in particular where Malcolm and Brandy (Lesli Margherita) have it out with each other in more than a minute long name calling scene that touts such wonderful phrases as “twat waffle” and “taint tickler.” Along with these vulgar scenes, there are also plenty of heartfelt and emotional moments that feel genuine and really balance out the film.
The characters were really well-balanced and well-developed. They all had a great chemistry and really play well off of each other. Topher Grace was the star in the film. His performance was surly and angry, while providing a great deal of comedy and heartfelt moments. I loved his performance and felt that it was so genuine and from a place of admiration for the material and the story. With JC Chasez in the film, there are plenty of great NSYNC lines and jokes that are really corny but fun. All of the members of the cast were really funny and many have a comedic background, including the talented Rob Riggle, Paul Scheer and Lauren Lapkus.
The music and dancing in the film were impeccable. Doing a musical within a musical and comedy is incredibly difficult and was so artfully done with this film. The use of one hit wonder songs and that everyone knows and loves, thrown randomly into a conversation with someone is just comic gold. It helped to capture the corny nature of musical theater, without cheapening it. There is a “dance off” scene where Malcolm is singing Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch” and Brandy is singing “I Know What Boys Like” all while having an old school dance off between their two groups. It took all my power not to be that weirdo in the theater giving a raucous standing ovation once it was done.
Overall, Opening Night was a complete joy to watch. I could have stayed in the theater and just started it from the beginning again. I know plenty of my theater and musical friends will love this film, but it isn’t so singular that it would appeal to just them. The humor in the film is wide enough for all audiences to enjoy and appreciate not only the musical aspect, but the love story woven throughout. A story that balances humor with love and music with theatrics, just a true masterpiece.