“We know people, who know people…who know people” is the tagline for the premier work of German transplant Sven Pape working with a script by Geoffrey Saville-Read. Lenny (Zack Ward) is an unemployed actor and Ethan (Tony Daly) is his best friend just broken up with his wife. Together, they come to the realization that the only way to make it in the movie business in LA-LA Land is to take the bull by the horns in “L.A. Twister.”
Lenny, garbed in a limo driver’s suit and cap, greets his friend Ethan at LAX. They drive into the city where the visitor is introduced to Chez Lenny, an apartment situated beside an LA freeway. Lenny has been struggling to get acting work, filling in the down time with whatever job is available. But, hefty casting agent Marilyn (Wendy Worthington) dangles the promise of a lead in an upcoming TV cop drama – if he’ll tend to her erotic needs. He does the deed and his expectations run high.
Meanwhile, Ethan is pining away for his ex who threw him out of their Pacific Northwest home for being a loser. He takes on plumbing work to pay the bills and soon sees the fruitless struggle of his friend. When he rescues the wife (Susan Blakely) of a wealthy financier who wants to break in to movie business, removing her toe from a bathtub faucet, he sees a way to break into the movies.
“L.A. Twister’s” rags to relative riches story has be done many times before. Think “The Big Picture,” paying homage to the independent film industry as a good example. While “Twister” has its heart in the right place, its execution is uneven. Thankfully, the second half somewhat resurrects the first half from the doldrums as it actually gets into the world of making movies.
The best thing about “Twister” is the energetic, snappy performance by Zack Ward as Lenny. You may remember him as the bully who gets his comeuppance in “A Christmas Story.” Here, his sharp wit and naïve belief that “miracles happen” but “only in the movies” makes for a sympathetic character. Unfortunately, his foil, Tony Daly as Ethan, is far too bland and not nearly as engaging as Ward. Susan Blakely as the bored rich wife and Worthington as casting agent Marilyn help elevate “L.A. Twister” a notch above where it deserves. It’s a fair start for newcomer Sven Pape. I give it a C+.
Laura gives "L.A. Twister" a C.
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