With this in mind, an analysis of dark comedies is possible. Dark comedies are triple-espressos drunk at two in the afternoon when your not tired but are already wired. In short, they are strong, biting, and only for the few that are immune to the residual effects.
The House of Yes is extreme even for the realm of dark comedy. It is one part British parlor drama, one part My Dinner with Andre with a sense of humor, and one part psychological thriller.
The Pascal house is one of those upper-crust homes outside of Washington where the neighborhood was born rich and will die rich. They live next door to the Kennedy's and feel a perpetual envy towards that group. They spend time being the last bastion of American royalty: the blue blood rich.
On Thanksgiving, 1983, 20 years after the assassination of JFK, the Pascal family has gathered for their Thanksgiving holiday in the midst of a hurricane. On the regular roster of invitations are the three full-time residential Pascals, mother (Genevieve Bujold), little brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and older sister Jackie-O (Parker Posey). Coming back from his home in New York City is Marty (Josh Hamilton). Marty has brought along his fiancée Lesly (Tori Spelling), a blue collar to their blue blood who was born in Pennsylvania and works as a waitress at a Doughnut King.
Of course, as with all families of blue blood we have the hidden secrets. Begin with the fact that Jackie-O is insane. So insane, in fact, that she wore a Pink Chanel suit with fake blood and brains on it to the Ides of March party after Kennedy was assassinated. One could normally write this off as a morbid sense of humor combined with a complete lack of tack and presence of bad taste, but Jackie-O's madness goes far beyond that. In the opening frames she begins obsessing over the aesthetic difference in hair brushed with a comb and brushed with a brush, so you can tell she ain't playing with a full deck of marbles.
Like The Ice Storm, the whether serves as an appropriate backdrop to the situation. As the hurricane approaches the eye, the situation gets worse and worse. When the storm has finally passed, the movie is over.
This serves as an example of the weakest aspect of the movie, which is surprisingly the direction and not the presence of Tori Spelling, which for once strengthens the film. All of the performances are top-notch with the exception of Genevieve Bujold, who annoys me despite the fact that I have never seen her before. On the good side, she plays a bit part.
As anyone who has seen the previews or heard anything about the film knows, this is a comedy about incest and the Kennedy assassination. Although it may not be as blatantly dark a blend as Very Bad Things, The House of Yes comes damn close. So, unless you're ready for a complete blast of darkness, step back and let someone else rent it.
Run time: 85 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th October 1997
Box Office Worldwide: $626.1 thousand
Distributed by: Miramax
Production compaines: Miramax Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 13
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Mark S. Waters
Screenwriter: Mark S. Waters
Starring: Parker Posey as 'Jackie-O' Pascal, Josh Hamilton as Marty Pascal, Tori Spelling as Lesly, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Anthony Pascal, Geneviève Bujold as Mrs. Pascal, Rachael Leigh Cook as Young 'Jackie-O', David Lovering as Young Marty
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