Garden Party


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


You know what we need much more of? No, not love, sweet love, but episodic ensemble dramas which feature loosely interconnected L.A. lives! Man, I just can't get enough of those. If I were supreme world dictator, I would mandate this format for all movies, even Spaghetti Westerns and those crazy musicals from India. Of course, if I were supreme dictator, the format would be much better since I would also require all the hot young actresses to be naked at all times.

In this particular case, the film focuses on the thousands and thousands of people who move their lives to to L.A. every year - because their sexual inclinations are too complicated for Iowa, or because they want to break into show biz, or perhaps just because Iowa sucks and L.A. sounds inviting, glamorous, and snow-free. Once they arrive, the transplants need to find jobs, places to stay, and friends they can trust. Those would not be easy hurdles to clear for mature adults, let alone for the naive youngsters that move there. Some end up in the L.A. gutters; others head back to Iowa with their tails between their legs; others settle into the same kinds of pedestrian lives they led in Des Moines; one in a few thousand manages to get a big break of some kind.

On the other side of the spectrum are those who prey on the newbies, and those who simply rely on them to fill low-level McJobs.

The script of this film weaves together some characters from each of those categories in a series of vignettes. It was created by author/director Jason Freeland from some short stories he wrote about life in L.A. Based on the movie, I presume those stories had little to do with one another. That doesn't really matter, I suppose, but what does matter is that the story has no good laughs, no action, no dramatic tension, and no particular insights. Couple all of that with the shopworn Altmanesque framework, and performances so laid back they barely have a pulse, and you get a film that seems to go nowhere and accomplish nothing en route.

That Garden Party song not only lends its title to the film, but it seems to be sung about a bazillion times. There's also another Rick Nelson song on the soundtrack.  I like Rick. Heck, I can sing along with almost all of his songs and I never missed an episode of "Ozzie and Harriet" when I was a kid. But I'm not exactly in the hip young demographic that this film seems to have been intended for.


* widescreen







31 (of 100)


6.2 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. The theatrical release was perfunctory, which probably left a lot of people relieved, because Garden Party grossed only $21,000 in 7 theaters. (That's about five tickets per screening.)



  • Robin Sydney showed her breasts in good light.
  • Fiona Dourif appeared in sexy undwerwear.

None of the film's many attractive female stars provide any nudity.

Our Grade:


Technically competent, but trite and meandering.