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THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Lots of folks want to break into the film industry but Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice would rather skip a few steps. They sit in their Toronto office (basically, Spencer's room in his parents' house) calling Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino's agents trying to sign them for their Tootsie-meets-The Godfather mob-sex-change script. Or maybe they're smarter than they seem: Pitch is a documentary that they directed based on their attempts to get the script sold. The presence of their camera gives them an edge over all the other white-knuckled script-clutching screenwriters begging for a shot. Agents, producers, and stars are often intrigued with the concept and end up listening to a lot more of the pitch than they normally might.
Still, no amount of gimmicky scamming can make up for the fact that Hotz is an unbelievably annoying prick and Rice is a mopey dope. Their script sounds awful as they foist it on anyone who'll stop long enough to listen. They're also incredibly unknowledgeable on the film industry for folks who want in: They tell Roger Ebert that he's from Los Angeles and ask where in LA they can find Francis Ford Coppola's house. Don't these guys ever read Entertainment Weekly?
In some alternate universe their film The Dawn is stinking up a shelf at Blockbuster but luckily we live in this universe and we get Pitch instead. The documentary is entertaining for exactly the reasons that make the guys hopeless. Every scene in the short film (barely 80 minutes) contains at least one forehead-slappingly funny moment. Their attempts to score a deal, then an agent are made funnier by the fact that once they do get an agent he demands that they drive around collecting all the scripts that they've handed out. The only celebrity who seems game is Eric Stolz who's already heard about the guys by the time he meets them and is quite a good sport bout listening to their pitch. There's also an incredibly weird moment when blaxploitation star Fred Williamson delivers one weird response to their pitch; he speaks in Italian, throws the script down on the sidewalk, curses the boys out, and storms away. Bravo!
The full-screen video is acceptable. Obviously shot on 16mm, the image is grainy but perfectly suited for the documentary. There is some dirt and dust on the print and a few moments of compression artifacting occur, but nothing fatal.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is simple and to the point.
Just a trailer.
Pitch should be of interest to anyone eager to join the ranks of unemployed screenwriters. While the celebrities name-dropped on the packaging (Pacino, Matt Dillon, etc...) are barely in the film, it delivers a hopelessly funny and silly slice of what it doesn't take to become the next big thing.
Email Gil Jawetz at [email protected]