A family's entire life is streamed live on the Internet, without their knowing it! Oh wait, you've heard this one before? Yeah, the atrociously titled I-See-You.Com might have made waves in 2002, but today it's awfully tepid, a retread of stories told so often they've come to feel like cliches.
When his family's finances hit the skids, Colby (Mathew Botuchis, who doesn't even get his name on the DVD cover) decides to install webcams throughout his house and turn his family's life into an online web show. Dad (Beau Bridges) is a gross weirdo. Mom (Rosanna Arquette) is a sex-obsessed cougar with a penchant for betting big on the stock market. And the main attraction is sis Audrey (Baelyn Neff), a teen hottie with a plethora of sexual gadgetry and lots of free time on her hands.
The show's a hit, but the family doesn't know about it until they're splashed over the tabloids. By then it's too late: The embarassment of the situation is quickly trumped by the checks Colby brings in every week, keeping the family afloat. A big network shows interest (and more cash). But now that they know they're on camera, the family curtails its lewd and crude ways, and viewers fall off. A new "reality" is manufactured as additional "characters" are brought in and Colby tries to mastermind a comeback. We actually see how this all ends in the very first scene, so this isn't a spoiler: Dad blows up the house, taking the family with it. (The film is all told as a flashback as he's being released from prison.)
You don't have to dig too deeply to read writer/director Eric Steven Stahl's message about manufactured "reality," the decay of morals, and how sad entertainment has become. That said, I-See-You.Com is hardly highbrow stuff, pandering with some pretty basic comedy touchpoints, from bathroom humor to bedroom skin. None of the acting here is noteworthy -- Bridges does his standard wide-eyed buffon, Arquette her equally standard shrieking banshee -- and the story (not even mentioning the flashback structure) does its best to telegraph gently exactly where it's going from scene to scene. Perhaps the worst part of all is Shiri Appleby, a friend/helper of Colby who appears here in a series of horrid wigs and sporting a lip ring. Her character is pointless and is so shrill that it sinks the film whenever she's on screen, which is far too often. (Does Shiri Appleby seriously pass for star power? Seriously?)
The film has its moments, but they're few and far between, and everything falls apart about 15 minutes before the credits roll, when we finally lose interest in the plot's machinations.
All she wants to do is dance.