Ellie Parker (2001-2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Ellie Parker began its life as a crude, hand-held DV film shown at Sundance in 2001, starring Naomi Watts as an aspiring Hollywood actress from Australia, which is basically what she was at the time. That original version was sixteen minutes long. Never let it be said that Naomi is disloyal or a bad sport, because when the director of this project wanted to expand it to a full-length film, Naomi agreed to do it, even though she was in the process of becoming a star for real, in such films as I Heart Huckabees, Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams, The Ring movies, and King Kong. In between her zillion dollar projects, she took time out here and there to help writer/director Scott Coffey finish his no-budget DV film. She even did a wild bathtub sex scene and showed her pubes while taking a whizz on camera.

I wish I could tell you that her efforts were worth it, but the sad truth is that nobody would ever have paid any attention to this visual equivalent of a garage band album, except that it happened to star Ms. Watts. With her, however, it attracted at least some notice. Imagine that your home movies featured Nicole Kidman naked. I suppose somebody would find them interesting, right? Same general idea here. Naomi's not only famous, but she's a good actress and she delivers a mercurial performance as she shifts from character to character and travels from audition to audition. Theater-goers showed no interest at all, but 38 critics reviewed it, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and about half of them wrote positive comments, including Roger Ebert.

The film quality is about at the home movie level. Normally, when I make a statement like that, I mean it is almost as bad as a good home movie. Not in this case. When I say "about at the home movie level", I mean it is almost as good as a good home movie. It is below the quality of a good student film. Steve Rhodes of internetreviews.com wrote, "The cinematography for ELLIE PARKER is off-the-scale bad. Some movies are best seen on the big screen, but ELLIE PARKER, with its grainy, jagged and over-exposed images, would probably look best when viewed on a cell phone."

There's even worse news. First, the cinematography is further polluted by a weak DVD transfer filled with interlacing problems and motion blur. Second, the cinematography is stronger than the script - if indeed there was a script. A lot of this looks improvised. It's about what you would get if you and a few of your friends decided to make a comedy, provided that Naomi Watts was one of your friends. You know all of those SNL sketches that go on too long, with no laughs at all from the audience except an occasional lonely twitter? This film is like a compilation of those. Some of them even involve Chevy Chase, although I'm not sure whether he was even trying to be funny. For his sake, I hope not. The DVD even includes deleted scenes, which are like the SNL sketches which got dropped because they caused cast members to be pelted with fruit during dress rehearsal.

As a short it must have had six minutes of reasonably entertaining footage surrounded by ten minutes of crap - not such a bad ratio for a comedy. As a feature, it still has the same six minutes of decent footage, except that it is now surrounded by 90 minutes of crap, meaning that the laughs show up about as frequently as Godot.



  • Full-length commentary by the director
  • deleted alternate scenes


Naomi Watts does a bathtub scene in which she smokes a joint and has sex with her boyfriend. Her breasts are seen fleetingly, and in poor quality images.

Naomi takes a pee on camera. The top of her pubic area can be seen (I guess.)

The Critics Vote ...

  • Roger Ebert 3/4. If you are interested, his positive comments tend to give you a balanced view after reading my negatives.

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It grossed $34,000. It was in theaters for 34 theater-weeks (never reaching more than six screens in any given week), so the math is easy - a thou per theater per week. Assuming a typical week of 28 screenings, it took in an average of $35 each time it was shown - and that was in big markets like L.A. and NY, with high ticket prices!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a VERY low C-, meaning that you might consider it worthwhile, but only if you want to see Naomi ham it up. If it starred an unknown, or anyone of less stature and/or talent than Naomi, it would be an F.

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