Vanessa del Rio
It's New Year's Eve day, and a lot of people are having sex.
Similar to Babylon Pink, Foxtrot has an Altman-esque "six degrees of separation" feel. Unlike Babylon Pink, there wasn't a familiar thread running through the scenes (BP's being - mostly - a series of fantasies). And the film doesn't quite stitch all of the characters together.
About 62 of the 77 minutes are fairly strong, moving between the various characters and slowly showing how they fit together. Jack Teague is throwing a New Year's Eve party that will be staffed by his maid (Tiffany Clark) and catered by Vanessa del Rio, who's musician boyfriend (Morris) will be playing a club that's also headlined by a showgirl/dancer (Fox), who is able to go work after her babysitter (Hillman) arrives, after she makes arrangements to have her boyfriend (Silver) come over later.
On the other side of town, Veronica Hart and R. Bolla seem to be in a loveless marriage. She seems to be having an affair, while he fantasizes about the sex-crazed woman across the street (Willoughby) whom he peeps on with his field glasses. After a fight, Hart seduces a sailor (Jeremy) who has just stumbled upon his girlfriend (Michaels) in bed with another woman (Mitchell). Unless I'm missing something, the two groups don't have a common character, although I suppose in theory Hart could have been having an affair with Jack Teague....
With the exception of the ultimate scene stock footage of the NYE ball drop and the penultimate scene at the party Teague is throwing, other than the characters mentioning it every five minutes, it doesn't seem all that important what day of the year the film took place on.
So about those last 15 minutes. Whereas the lead up was competent - if not great - the end, the party, sort of fell off the rails. In a tonal shift from the rest of the film, things got a lot looser and seemed to hint at getting a lot more mad cap (for example, a woman at the party announces that she feels like taking her clothes off), which would have been fine if it had actually followed through with going crazy. Instead, there was a brief non sequitur scene that was a not-so-thinly-veiled crack at Roman Polanski (Astyr as a film director who spends most of his time in Europe as certain jailbait proclivities have gotten him in hot water). Then...well, that's it.
I have to admit that I'm generally pretty lukewarm on the film. Perhaps I'm judging it overly harshly consider the only other Howard film I've seen is Neon Nights, which is an all-timer, in my opinion. But, I guess the positives outweigh the negatives soooooo...B-
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