The film industry has been satirizing and examining itself for nearly as long as it has existed, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands of films about the movies. Along the way, some of the best films of all time have been set against the backdrop of Hollywood, from Sunset Boulevard to The Bad and the Beautiful to The Player. With all these stories set on in the world of cinema, there has come the perception of knowing what goes on behind the scenes of film production. And with this perception has come a motley assortment of characters that we've all come to recognize – the cutthroat ladder climber, the megalomaniac producer/director, the naïve filmmaker in for a rude awakening.
Because stories set in the world of film have become so commonplace, and the characters who inhabit these films have become such archetypes, it is easy for films of this nature to fall into the world of derivative stories, cliché, and stock characters. New Suit could easily suffer from all these shortcomings, but rather than fall victim to them – and some are there – the film manages to rise above it all.
Jordan Bridges (son of Beau Bridges) stars as Kevin Taylor, an aspiring screenwriter who arrives in Hollywood with dreams of making it big. But reality is quick to put a halt to Kevin's aspirations, and he is soon reduced to working as the lowly assistant to a maniacal producer (Dan Hedaya). Kevin's days are spent shuttling hookers and listening to his fellow low-end lackeys tell lies in an effort to seem like there are more hip and in-the-know than anyone else. One day our hero becomes fed up with everyone around him telling him what he knows to be lies, so he decides make up a lie himself. Kevin tells his lunch companions that he's read an incredible script called "New Suit" by a writer named Jordan Strawberry. Not wanting to appear out of the loop, his friends all claim they've read the script as well. Soon, talk of Strawberry and "New Suit" has spread like wildfire through the film community. Kevin's ex-girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan), a career-driven talent agent with dreams of being a producer claims she represents Strawberry, and the lie begins to snowball out of control. Soon studios and executives are in a bidding war to purchase a script that has never been written, by a writer who doesn't exist.
At its heart and soul New Suit is a modern fairy tale set in Hollywood, that draws its inspiration from The Emperor's New Clothes. Writer Craig Sherman has clearly spent time working behind the scenes in Hollywood, and his script has just enough of a bitter, cynical edge that it hints of someone who's experienced enough to push him over the edge of pessimism. But director Francois Velle manages to keep things from ever getting to dark or angry, infusing a certain amount of optimistic hope – at least for our hero, Kevin.
New Suit may not be a great film, but it is really good film. Velle's stylish yet subtle direction, accompanied by Sherman's layered script make for a film works from a comedic standpoint, without ever sorting to being lightweight or too silly in its humor.
New Suit is presented in widescreen. The film was shot on high definition video, and the image is clean and crisp, with vibrant colors. On television it is almost impossible to tell that the movie was not shot on film.
New Suit is presented in 5.1 Stereo Surround sound.
An audio commentary by director Velle and screenwriter Sherman is the high point of the bonus features found on New Suit. While the commentary is nothing stellar, the casual tone of Velle and Sherman is entertaining enough, and both give a bit of insight into the creative process that went into making the film. Velle specifically takes about certain shot compositions, editing choices, and directorial decisions that helped shape the tone and style of the film.
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]