Park City tells the story of four indie filmmakers as they travel to the Sundance Film Festival for the screening of their new film. On route Murphy’s Law engages as everything which can go wrong does, particularly after they spend the night partying heavily only to find out in the morning that they have misplaced their precious film. At that point Park City takes on a Hangover vibe as they desperately attempt to recall the previous night and find the film whilst the clock ticks down to their screening. Now there are plenty of issues with this film such as a lack of narrative tension and some of the jokes falling flat, but I still had a good time with it due to one absoloutley key thing – the relationship between the characters.
Each of the four characters is an archetypal figure of the movie world; there is the diva lead actress (who due to Jill Evyn’s great work somehow doesn’t grate on us despite her constant whining), the indie director, the ‘group Mum’ producer and the fairly useless and often stoned production assistant. Thankfully the film takes those archetypes and imbues them with a warmth and humanity which raises them above being merely figures of fun. Of course a lot of this is down to the actors themselves who all do a good job individually but who really excel at producing a group relationship which is wholly relatable and which proves over the course of the film to be the element which holds your attention most.
I mentioned earlier that the film does have its share of issues and the biggest one is that it lacks the appropriate tension. As the time begins to run out before the screening starts you would expect the characters to get more and more panic stricken, maybe some would eventually give up and relax but those who keep going should get more and more upset as time draws short. The problem here is that all the characters are too laid back during the search, although some are more so than others. I appreciate that this is a fun comedy film that could be dubbed The Hangover goes to Sundance, but if you’re going to put a ticking time-bomb style narrative device in there you had better well use it properly.
Despite my issues with Park City‘s pacing and energy I have to admit that the film is very much worth watching. There are good performances across the board, a wry and self-reflexive humour and it’s also nice to see a few familiar faces popping up occasionally too. Occasionally the film is a little too sentimental and not every joke works, but on the other hand there are plenty of laughs which really do work and when they are combined with the genuine warmth felt between the characters it makes Park City an indie comedy which is certainly worthy of your time.
What is the film’s greatest strength? The strength of the relationship between the characters.
Its greatest weakness? You never truly feel the urgency of the character’s dilemma.
Would I see it again? Mixed thoughts on that question due to the film’s flaws… I probably would see it again, yes.
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