Beatriz At Dinner

People really love dinners. I wish I watched The Dinner to go along with this as a mini-theme, but The Dinner never really fell on my radar.

At the very least, by now I should have watched My Dinner With Andre. One day.

With Beatriz At Dinner, I know we can expect a few things. We can expect some food, we can expect the food being at someplace unexpected, and we can expect at least one person named Beatriz. Maybe two, if we are lucky.

Oh hey! There she is! Beatriz at the Dinner!

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is having a hard time. She is a spiritual healer, and massage therapist, trying to help people through medical issues and emotional issues. But she is lonely and depressed. She lives alone with her animals, but her goat was recently killed by a neighbor for being annoying. That is pretty messed up. Her goddamn goat!

She still has a job to do and she heads to one of her client’s houses. She is late to Kathy (Connie Britton) thanks to traffic, but she gets in a quick session before Kathy has to get ready for a dinner party. When Beatriz tries to leave, her car will not start. Her only real option is to call on her friend to come and fix it, but he won’t be there until he gets out of work.

Kathy is kind and loves Beatriz though. So she invites her to stay for the dinner, she insists (with her husbands (David Warshofsky) permission). She isn’t dressed up fancy, but it is okay, because Beatriz is like family.

Beatriz quickly realizes that these people are not living in the same world she is living in. This is especially true about Doug (John Lithgow), a real estate mogul, and the person this whole dinner party is celebrating.

Also featuring Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker, Chloë Sevigny, John Early, and Enrique Castillo.

And this is Beatriz as the After Dinner entertainment.

I expected a lot of subtlety in this film. Or a lot of under the table insults. Metaphorically, not literally. You know, backhanded compliments. Maybe some political debates. Maybe just…anything.

But what I got felt like a whole lot of nothing. Sure, Beatriz is a tragic character. We will feel sorry for her and we know she is in the right. And all of the rich people suck, some more than others, with the reasons varying. And yet it still feels like not a lot happens.

Beatriz never really gets a mic drop type statement. We get a lot of almost situations that never seem to go far enough. The commentary they are making based on how things play out is obvious, but it is bleak and totally unnecessary. And the ending is just downright dreadful, all aspects of it. I just feel like I was teased and then pooped on. Would certainly never want to see this again. Although sure, Hayek and Lithgow carried the film in their own ways, they just felt wasted on the script and the plot.

1 out of 4.


In 2014, Gillian Robespierre directed a small indie film called Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate.

And it frankly was the best thing Slate has ever done. She is in a lot of kid movies weirdly enough, along with voice roles, so those rarely are anything noteworthy. And then on the other end of the spectrum, she can be in these raunchy/annoying roles that make you remember her, but usually in a negative way.

Obvious Child was a nice balance between outspoken and notable in a good way.

So I was excited to hear that the pair had teamed up for a new movie, Landline, not at all related, but hey the same director and same star.

Boys Room
And hardcore tobacco use in a bathroom. Is this what Mötley Crüe was talking about?

Dana (Slate) is an adult, working a job, and living with her fiance, Ben (Jay Duplass), who is a bit boring. And by that I mean their life is routine, their sex doesn’t lead to climax, and every time they try to spice things up it goes wrong. Her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn) is almost graduating from high school and thinking about colleges. She is super smart, but she is getting into dumb positions and working with drugs, putting a strain on her future.

But we are really here to talk about their parents. Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco), who are going through weird times. Turns out that Alan might be cheating on Pat, thanks to Ali finding a disk with some erotic poems to a mysterious C. Oh yeah, I mean floppy disk, because this takes place in the mid-90’s.

While that is going on, Dana separates from her fiance temporarily to find herself, which she does in the arms of a friend from long ago, Nate (Finn Wittrock). Oh boy, time for everyone to have panic attacks about their lives and question all of their relationships!

Also starring Raffaella Meloni as “C”.

The face you make when you realize your dad was actually cheating with the hibachi chef the whole time.

Landline is going to be remembered as one of those movies that really just fit the okay rating. It had some things happen, some notable moments, but the whole thing failed to stick with me in anyway. I don’t even have any large complaints. No one acted terribly and no character felt badly written. Everyone in the family was pretty realistic, as were their relationships and attitudes towards each other. It just didn’t resonate.

And hey, I didn’t even find Slate annoying in this film, that is a first!

I was most impressed with Turturro, he did a lot with his face and body, despite a more limited screen time than the two lead actresses.

Also the ending of the film felt wrapped up too nicely. It ruined a bit of that realistic feel and turned back into a movie, but one that didn’t match the way one would assume with the choices a few characters had made.

The good news is it wasn’t terrible, so I would be more than willing to watch another team up with Robespierre and Slate. Unlike the team up of Wahlberg and Berg.

2 out of 4.