Opening Night (2016)
Nick (Topher Grace) is trying to find something in his apartment, but he keeps finding stuff he doesn’t need, including an old playbill and an article about his taking Broadway by storm. He quickly looks at the playbill and throws both items away. He then finds a series of pictures (the kind that you would find in a photo booth) of himself and a young woman; they are apparently dating in the pictures and full of life and happiness. At first, he smiles about the picture, hesitating to save the picture; he finally throws it in the trash. Having found what he is looking for Nick begins to leave, but before he can shut the front door, he rushes back in and saves the picture from the trash, putting it in its hiding place.
It’s New York City, and a Broadway theatre is advertising a musical called ‘One Hit Wonderland’ starring former Mickey Mouse Club and ‘N Sync member J.C. Chasez. We follow Nick down Broadway until he finds the theatre for ‘One Hit Wonderland.’ By the stage door, Malcolm (Taye Diggs) is talking to the young woman, Chloe (Alona Tal) that was in the picture with Nick. They are talking about the sex life that Chloe and Nick had when they were together, just as Nick walks up. Nick learns that Chloe was on a date last night but won’t reveal with whom. Nick tells them they have ten minutes before the show starts and the two began warming up their vocal tracks, much to the protest of Nick. They were singing a song just to torture Nick more, and he stops them, complaining how cheesy it is to just break out in song on stage. Chloe and Malcolm start singing again as Nick walks off.
Nick starts organizing the madhouse that is backstage giving orders left and right. People are putting on costumes, warming up their voices and stretching. Alex (Lauren Lapkus) tells Nick that one of the big set pieces is broken, and Nick quickly comes up with a plan to replace it. As Nick walks through all the departments backstage, a bass player tells Nick that he can’t perform without some weed. One of the featured performers, Brandy (Lesli Margherita) wants Malcolm fired. Brandy won’t tell Nick what Malcolm did but threatens to quit if he isn’t fired. Nick calls her bluff, and she walks off, spouting profanities. It’s going to be a wild opening night, and it’s going to keep all of Nick’s skill and finesse to keep the show going. Nick just might find out that love can come back around if you are willing to take chances.
Opening Night is a musical where the cast sings ‘one hit wonders’ both on stage and backstage. The backstage songs are meant to give us insight into the characters and how they are thinking and feeling. Some of the songs go over better than others, though there is one for just about every musical style. I enjoyed the singing voice of Alona Tal, and she nails her big song when Chloe gets the break of a lifetime. Just for fun, Taye Diggs and Lesli Margherita do a sing-off that is hilarious to watch. The film has a huge cast, and each character gets some time to shine, whether it’s a song, a dance or a comedic bit.
I do want to warn you that this is a rather raunchy musical. There is quite a bit of cussing and lots of discussions of sex, including Diggs and Margherita both making the moves on a new dancer. I would have liked Anne Heche to have a bigger role in this film. She plays an actress who feels her better days are behind her. There is a touching scene between her character Brooke and Chloe, telling the wide eyed Chloe about the reality of the acting game. The weak link of the film is Topher Grace, of all the cast, his singing voice is the least appealing and the final song he sings doesn’t give you the needed emotion that you want from that scene. It doesn’t help that he is portraying one of the weakest characters in the film, someone who is incredibly unhappy and indecisive.
Overall if you are a fan of musical comedy or Broadway, you will enjoy this movie. If you’re not a big fan of the 80s and 90s songs, and you feel, like Nick, that it’s stupid for people to just break out into song, you probably want to stay away. I enjoyed this film and its wacky look at what happens backstage. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
The film comes out Tuesday, Aug 1st on DVD from Wolfe Video.
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
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