This film has been greeted with rave reviews by besotted American critics who see the film’s eerie eccentricity as a bizarre endorsement of new-age cinematic mores where actors can be high without smoking weed. High on life, that is. Life, as defined by the rules of anarchy. Dinner In America is about two miss-fits, or should I say mess-fits, who create chaos and leave behind a trail of destruction wherever they go.
I must admit that the two leads Kyle Gallner and Emily Skeggs are more than up to the job of projecting a perverse self-interest and an overweening individuality verging on a vicious psychological disorder. From the start, these two are not right for each other.
Simon is on the run from the law and he needs a place to hide. Patty, an epitome of mental emotional and physical disorder brings Simon to her home. The way peers Simon into her kitchen, her refrigerator, family pictures (concluding for no reason that her brother is gay) and finally her chest, is an ample illustration of the never-bring-a-stranger-home warning.
Simon and Patty rapidly find a common ground. He loves to sponge. She loves to be made a sucker. He loves to eat free meals. She loves to be hospitable to wackos. The wackier the better. Simon is a suburban renegade. Patty is a domesticated psychotic dream-catcher. She loves the music of a band named John Q. Their music gets her soul spinning, and her parents’ blood pressure rising. Simon doing a Sajan is John Q undercover.
As far as mismatches go, Dinner In America gives us the oddest couple since Bonnie & Clyde. Or maybe some other couple who are together because they’ve nowhere else to go like couples trapped together during the lockdown. Here there is a complete emotional lockdown. Simon and Patty look like a couple of scavengers scouring for a sense of purpose.
They are vague, aimless and in desperate need of a bath, in separate bathrooms, please. The film opens with a dinner sequence at Simon’s date’s home where he is suddenly seen getting sexually intimate with his date’s mother. When he’s thrown out of the house (and rightly so) he burns his hosts’ house down.
“Is weird cool?” Patty asks Simon. To which Simon replies, not in your case. Weird is certainly not cool in Dinner In America.
Image source: Amazonuk, Instagram/britflicks/kylegface