Skip to main content

YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBOURS

USA, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Neil Labute

In a pre-credit sequence, a hunky young stud, Gary (Jason Patric), sweating from exercise hisses dramati­cally, "I think you're a great lay." As it transpires, he is dictating the line into a tape recorder, rehearsing it to be used on a number of different women. As just one exam­ple of the narcissism and cynicism reflected by the prin­cipal cast of Your Friends and Neighbours, this moment perfectly captures the inherent voyeurism and cruelty of the film. The many interactions between the characters are sharply observed and imbued with dark humour but, unlike Woody Allen for example, LaBute has little affec­tion tor his creations and he remorselessly mocks their pretensions and shallow nature.

LaBute's ensemble includes Ben Stiller as Jerry, a man compelled to provide his own hilarious narration aloud during sex, and Nastassja Kinski as a vampy home-wrecker who steals away Jerry's wife. In a series of episodes the half dozen characters are cuckolded, mocked, deceived and humiliated—all to the audi­ence's immense delight. A provocative examination of the lies that bind.

See also...

ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE

Larry Clark's first feature, Kids (1995), was heralded as a realist masterpiece for its powerful veracity. Here, he pulls apart the archetype of the American family, then reconstructs it with the odd ... More »

BEST LAID PLANS

With echoes of the Coen Brothers' debut, Blood Simple (1984), Best Laid Plans is a noir-ish entanglement of lust, betrayal, theft and murder. At all times it remains a film about the perception of ... More »

BROWN'S REQUIEM

James Ellroy spent the early 80s in an alcoholic haze, stealing womens' underwear from clotheslines when he wasn't on a bender or absorbing a century of crime fiction. From casual work as a drunken ... More »

GO

Doug Liman is best known for his underrated, stylish and hilarious first feature, Swingers, about a group of narcissistic and self-obsessed Tinsel Town wannabes. It was during this film that he ... More »

HENRY FOOL

Henry Fool is a self-styled Intellectual whose proclamations ring with both truth and falsity. His arrival info the lives of a dysfunctional family signifies the beginning of delicate yet profound ... More »

LOUIS AND FRANK

Alexandre Rockwell excels at well constructed, intelligent comedy, typically made with unusual but highly successful casting choices. Louis & Frank is a comedy about two very different cousins who ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director