by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Dysfunctional Friends is a poor imitation of the 1983 release The Big Chill, where college friends gathered together for the funeral of a common associate. They learn after the services that their friend’s will states that each of the remaining friends will receive a large sum of money, but only if they can remain - together – in his mansion for one week, without leaving. If one leaves, all will forfeit their inheritance. But this group – formerly close knit – has become unraveled over the past decade.
These friends have many skeletons in their closets, as well as the fact that only one of them had kept in touch with the larger-than-life deceased friend, who was an adventurer in his own right.
Dysfunctional Friends has been described as “a perceptive look at the complexities of friendship both expired and renewed.” The movie does feature sharp dialogue and ensemble acting, with NFL player Terrell Owens playing the boyfriend of Stacey Dash, which seems just an extension of the pair’s relationship on VH1’s Single Ladies. It seems in Dysfunctional Friends, as in the cable show, that their lines were measured and could as well have been phoned in. It was, however, a hit at the 2011 American Black Film Festival, where cast member Persia White won the award for Best Actress.
Forced into close, uncomfortable quarters, it isn’t long before secrets and past scandals come out during this extraordinary week, jeopardizing each one’s inheritance – and threatening everyone’s sanity!
From Producer Datari Turner and Writer/Director Corey Grant and featuring an all-star cast , along with Dash and Owens, including Meagan Good, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Jason Weaver, Hosea Chanchez, Tatyana Ali, Essence Atkins, Christian Keyes and Stacy Keibler. Dysfunctional Friends is an incisive, humorous study of truth and affection. Time has caused these friendships to fall apart; time will tell if they can work together again!
Dysfunctional Friends would be a good movie to watch with a bunch of friends. It would be fun to see if the group relates to what’s on the screen. My thoughts are that some of the characters were too wild and the language and script predictable. I understand, however, that this is the film version of a stage play. It is available April 3 on DVD from Image Image Entertainment. For more information, visit www.image-entertainment.com
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago, who also serves as a news editor for FilmMonthly.com
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