The Talent Given Us (2004)

TalentGivenThis was in Sundance? This? This crap? So, how does one get a bad film in to Sundance? Well, you first film the movie on a handheld camera to give it a real indie look, then you cast your parents because all these self-indulgent “artists” cast their relatives, but you don’t stop there, you cast your sisters and their friends, and then you write a script and then let your two main stars bicker at one another improvising just to make it look cool, and then to make it conventional, you have two people whom look like they’ve never been outside their neighborhood take a cross country road trip where they happen to come across their friends on this trip.

“The Talent Given Us” is a shrill, self-indulgent, and utterly loud piece of melodramatic dreck that is never sure if its a drama, or a documentary. The director didn’t look as if he could afford either, so he made it part documentary, part drama. A hybrid of both without any of the extra cost, but twice the crap. “Talent” teeters back and forth between “This is our parents, look how crazy they are!” though the scenes are so staged and artificial. Which is it? During the interviews the director gave the impression it was indeed a documentary yet we have some of the cheesiest scenes and some of the worst acting.

“The Talent Given Us” is basically just ninety minutes of three immensely self-centered cackling hens, and one submissive male making one really stupid movie about going to see their son. And neither of them are really likable. Their daughters are self-centered vacuous shrews whom complain that their mother was a bitch when they don’t realize they’re looking at their own reflection. So, if these daughters’ personalities were added fictitiously, or if these are really how they are, they’re shrews whose own vanity reflects their self-hatred.

Especially, the actress daughter Emily Allen who “shockingly” talks the most attempting desperately to hog the screen from everyone else, talking about herself all the time and parading herself as the quasi-center of the film. When you boil “Talent” down, it’s not a portrait about a family, it’s just an unknown actor hogging the  screen, two inept parents talked in to this, and many other people thrown in for variety whom can’t get a part in a real movie. Big deal. This was an utterly exhausting film to sit through. It’s really nothing but a shrill, ridiculous, unfunny, and ugly piece of indie fodder that really baffles as to why it was a runner at Sundance. It’s a self-indulgent, utterly painful film that attempts to explore all sorts of genres, but it fails. Miserably.