As a film lover, I am open to films of every genre. However, that doesn't mean I still have issues with certain brands of film, notably re-makes and rip-offs. There are few offenses worse than a film that doesn't try to distinguish itself apart from similarly plotted works. "Closing Escrow" falls into the blatant rip-off category.
The mockumentary focuses on 3 couples looking to buy a home: Tamika and Bobby who are expecting a child, Tom and his stalker wife Dawn who need more room, and Mary and Allen who are looking for a change. With each couple, there is a real estate agent trying to provide them with a home: The racist Hillary, the property destroying Richard, and normal family man Peter. The mockumentary is done in a typical Christopher Guest fashion with interviews, specific beats, and the "Months Later" follow up with the characters.
At 93 minutes, director Armen Kaprelian really tries to stretch out the premise. We get a lot of surprised reaction shots and scenes with people wandering houses saying "This is nice," or "What do you think?" Word to the wise Mr. Kaprelian: If an actual feature length script was written, you wouldn't have to worry about padding your film with cutting room floor comedic improv.
Speaking of improv, the humor makes me yearn for the likes of Jerry Lewis (this is not a good thing folks). Ongoing jokes including dead rabbits and putting dogs in storage. Just what the world wants to see, more animal cruelty.
On top of the weak humor, all of the actors seem uncertain about what to say. As the cast is not filled with Second City comedians like in Christopher Guest films, the jokes feel forced and desperate. A few veteran cast members do the best they can such as "Reno 9-11" cast members Cedric Yarbough and Wendi McLeendon-Covey and the Trager father on "Kyle Xy" Bruce Thomas.
The 1.78:1 widescreen video quality looks too good for this movie. When you are doing a documentary or in this case a mockumentary, you need the film to seem real. You can't have studio film type shots or plan out angles as it distracts the viewer.
English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks have been included. The sound tracks are fine. A few muffled dialogue scenes pop up, but overall the dialogue was always easy to hear.
* Over a dozen deleted scenes. Some scenes were rightfully cut such as minor extended versions of scenes and more dead rabbit junk, but other scenes should have stayed in the film. One scene with Mary talking about her hobbies added more to her one dimensional character. I'm not quite sure why the scene was cut out.
* A by-the-numbers 6 1/2 minute "Making Of Closing Escrow." The actors and director talk about the characters and how couples looking to buy a home can relate to the movie.
* Option to play Spanish subtitles.
* A 7 minute "Behind The Scenes" featurette showing clips of the director talking to actors and rehearsing a scene before cutting to the final version of the scene.
* Previews for "Broken English" and "Crazy Love."
"Closing Escrow" is comedy at its most painful. Few sights are more agonizing than actors and actresses being forced to do improv. They are as likely uncomfortable doing it as you are watching it. Please watch a Christopher Guest movie instead (except for "Almost Heroes").
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.