LA Film Festival Review: Opening Night is a Hilarious Homage to Musical Theatre

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Opening Night is a Hilarious Homage to Musical Theatre

Opening Night had its World Premiere at the LA Film Festival and I was lucky enough to be there at the sold out screening. Opening Night is a comedic look at what happens backstage at a Broadway show. The film follows Nick (Grace), a failed Broadway star who is now working as a stage manager of the new Broadway Musical, One Hit Wonderland. Nick has commitment issues and has recently just screwed up his four year relationship with Chloe (Alona Tal). As opening night begins, Nick is forced to evaluate his actions while dealing with the overwhelming drama that is constantly occurring backstage. Music, Dance-offs, and hilarity ensues…

I have said this time and time again but I love going to film festivals because I love watching smaller films that I know little to nothing about. You simply walk into a theater with no expectations and never know whats going to happen. Opening Night is one of those films I went to see because I looked at the cast and plot description on IMDB and decided to give the film a shot. I am so glad that I saw this film because not only do I feel like this will more than likely be my favorite film of the festival but also one of the funniest films that I will see in 2016.

Opening Night is one of those rare films that be easily be summarized as a damn great time at the movies. The script is loaded with witty humor, cruel humor, musical numbers, and plenty of heart. Opening Night is everything that films like Pitch Perfect try to be but fail to accomplish. The film plays homage to musical theatre while also poking fun at all the drama that goes on behind the scenes. It is very rare that a filmmaker, let alone a first time filmmaker, can make a film this good. Opening Night is a film within a musical. It can be easily be seen as a musical but also as mockumentary about what happens behind the scenes at a Broadway show.opening nightWhat I liked the most about the film was that it was so self aware. The film is predictable and cheesy but that works in the film’s favor based on the subject matter. It simply knows what it is and just has fun with it. There are so many characters in the film yet somehow everyone one of them fits the bill. There is the anxiety ridden stagehand played by Lauren Lapkus to NSYNC’s J.C. Chasez playing the cocky lead in the show One Hit Wonderland. Each of these actors are playing a real person that you would find backstage at any Broadway musical. 

Each character shines no matter how big or small their role is. It is nice seeing a film with such a large cast but each actor acknowledging their place in the film. This results with every actor involved having their moment in the spotlight. Some of my favorites included Nick singing on-stage, Lesli Margherita and Taye Diggs performing a mashup of Bloodhound Gang and The Waitresses, and the heart to heart talk between Anne Heche‘s Brooke and Alona Tal‘s Chloe.  It should also be mentioned that multiple people in this film have had experience working in both film and Broadway which only helped make this film feel that much more authentic.

Isaac Rentz should be incredibly proud of this film and I can only hope that it gets picked up by the right studio and gets the release that it deserves. Rentz’s film captures everything that people love and hate about theatre. The pacing is perfect as is the run time. I think so many people will go into this film and be really taken back by the end result. This is a must-see for fans of theater, film, and pretty much anyone who has ever worked in the entertainment industry.  

All in all, Opening Night is an absolute delight from start to finish. I would love to own this film and watch it over and over again. Its funny, honest, cheesy, and genuine all at the same time. The performances are all spot on and I was in love with all the musical numbers especially the music from the One Hit Wonderland show itself. Opening Night perfectly captures what I love about film and Broadway. This film hits all the right notes and deserves a standing ovation. Bravo to everyone involved.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Opening Night is a 8 out of 10.

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