I was cruising On Demand one day, when I saw this great title- "Amelia's 25th". I am glad it started with an A, or else I might not have clicked on it. I thought it might be a bit high-brow from the title, perhaps it was about a symphony, or else Amelia Earhart? After looking up the description online, I immediately ordered it. The film is chalked full of amazing Independent film stars, laughter and witty language. It is peppered somewhat with un-even performances, especially by the 2 leads, but this is definitely made up for within moments of the film's opening sequence.
Amelia (Electra Avellan- "Machete" & "Grindhouse")is a struggling bi-lingual actress who is a bit down on her luck, but still has a lot going for her. She is late on the rent, late on her auditions, and late on her monthly visit from "Aunt Flo". Her agent asks her to lose the accent, and informs her she is over the hill in Hollywood. This is difficult for Amelia, as her father is a famous film director (Robert Rodriguez "Sin City", "Machete") Mostly, this day is more than usually depressing to her, because it is her 25th birthday, which to most people wouldn't be that much of a milestone, except that own mother passed away at 24, which now makes Amelia brood on her mortal existence, probably much more than she would on any other birthday. The day you become older than your parent is always a sobering experience. A cross dressing neighbor (played divinely by David Lewis) gives her the number of the psychic who lives in the building (the ever glamorous ball of fire Jennifer Tilly) to perhaps help her sort things out in life and deal with her non relenting day. While in her session with "Miss Cellie" (Tilly), she feels once again ripped off and a bit cheated, as Tilly banters with dead movie stars, drinks whiskey and rolls cigarettes, laughing all the way. But little does Amelia know, Miss Cellie's revelations will all come to light, in a way she will least expect it.
Amelia's boyfriend is a struggling producer who seems to always just be a day late and a dollar short, until he meets with Don Javier (played marvelously by mega action star & all around bad guy Danny Trejo) who obliterates his chances of ever working in Los Angeles again. Avoiding the land lord on the late rent will be in his immediate future. But Trejo's character has far more to worry about as his wife and Angelina Jolie-esque movie star (Karin Kelts- "Lost Everything") has just had a very public break up with him in the tabloids and has embarrassed him beyond words, leading him to take action. His quest to destroy his wife, and expose her infidelity leads him to a sex shop where he meets two hilarious "sex-perts" (Margaret Cho and Shana Gregory Williams in what is probably the film's most raunchy and side splitting scene). After a change of heart, he tries to reconcile with his wife and the public eye.
Through a myriad of quirky, slimy, and down right mean Hollywood types, Amelia takes a Lewis E. Carol-esque journey through a modern Wonderland in the city of angels. In the end, like all the other characters in this film, Amelia is given a choice, literally between two unknown brown paper bags. She eventually chooses life over brooding and negativity, and to be happy with the choices she has made for the future. In one of the strongest scenes, a mysterious stranger who used to be on the Cosby Show (no spoiler alert here "for the sake of the plot"- Mark Whittington)tells her "if you spend your entire life wondering what is in that other bag, you will never truly enjoy that egg-salad sandwich". She realizes that love and magic has been in front of her the entire time. Much like when Dorothy is told she had the power to go home all along, Amelia has been standing in Oz the entire time, she just needed someone to shake her, and shake her he does.
This is an edgy, funny, dark, ensemble comedy that Indie film lovers with devour. Many strong performances make up for at times a thin script, and un-even performances by Nicholes Cole and Electra Avellan. Director Martin Yernazian does a skillful job of treading lightly and not hitting you in the head with a message. At the same rate, Avellan has never been as good (or as beautiful) as she is as the brooding but charming Amelia, so you can definitely see Mr. Yernazian's handy work there. Stand out performances by tween pop idol Ashley Parker Angel as the soft porn star who has his eye on Amelia, Danny Trejo, Margaret Cho, and the stunning Jennifer Tilly put this film over the top. Then up-comers really take the film to the next level, Shana Gregory Williams, Mark Whittington, Karin Kelts, Courtney Cole, Kameshia Duncan, & David Lewis. The rest of the cast is chalked full of names and faces you recognize and revere if you follow independent film- the likes of James Duval ("Go", "Independence Day"), Ally Maki ("Geography Club"), Melissa Ordway ("Ted", "A Very Harold & Kumar 3-D Christmas"), the rarely seen & always great Jon Abrahams ("Meet The Parents", "Scary Movie"), and cameo appearances by Playboy Playmate Anna Sophia Burgland with the legendary director Robert Rodriguez (in his first on screen role).
In all, this is a delightfully dark and dirty comedy that is terrifically shot, well acted, and a modern day fairy tale in the film industry's dirty city of angels. If you are looking for the meaning of life, or need to spend the evening brooding over the holocaust (Much like Amelia), this is not the film for you. If you would like to laugh uproariously, while cuddling up on the couch with or without someone wonderful, this is a must-see Indie film which will survive the test of time.
I read the review on this site by Mr. Lee, and think that this man is most likely an idiot, or else so pedantic that he couldn't see the forest for the proverbial trees. His spelling is off a bit also. When naming an Academy Award nominated actress and lauding her performance, perhaps you should get her name correct- JENNIFER TILLY (not "Tinny" as listed by Mr. Lee- how embarrassing), especially if the production company sent you a copy to view for free- I BOUGHT mine.