Off-Broadway Theater Review: THE MONEY SHOT (MCC Theatre at Lucille Lortel)

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by Dmitry Zvonkov on September 29, 2014

in Theater-New York

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Two couples are having aperitifs at a luxurious home in the Hollywood Hills (sexy stylish set by Derek McLane). They are Steve (Fred Weller), an aging action superstar; Missy (Gia Crovatin), his very young and ditsy wife of one year; Karen (Elizabeth Reaser), a movie star who’s quickly approaching middle-age and who’s recently come out as a lesbian; and Karen’s partner Bev (Callie Thorne), a film editor. They’ve come from the set of a movie Steve and Karen are co-starring in, and which Bev is editing, to discuss something—Neil LaBute’s script is coy about what that is exactly, and the first half of the play is spent on, essentially, small talk and getting to know these four people.

Gia Crovatin, Fred Weller, Callie Thorne, and Elizabeth Reaser in Neil LaBute's THE MONEY SHOT. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Steve is a vain idiot and ignoramus who lies about his age and insists that Belgium is not a part of Europe but of the European Union. Missy, a former cheerleader, shows us how she used those skills in a production of The Crucible, which was staged in her high school as a musical. Karen is a drama queen who is terrified of being cast as a mother. And Bev, the only normal one in the group, is periodically reprimanded for showing her frustration with the denseness of one or another of its members.

Fred Weller and Callie Thorne in Neil LaBute's THE MONEY SHOT. Photo by Joan Marcus.

For 100 minutes, The Money Shot pokes fun at the stupidity, ignorance, superficiality and self-centeredness specific to Hollywood and its royalty. An abundance of jokes, delightful performances, and Terry Kinney’s adroit direction, make this an enjoyable outing, for an hour or so. But with no higher purpose, the show begins to feel burdensome after a while, and the predictable but unlikely ending doesn’t really pop. The Money Shot is an evening of light entertainment. The actors have fun and so do we, for the most part. I just wish there was some substance to it all.

Elizabeth Reaser and Callie Thorne in Neil LaBute's THE MONEY SHOT. Photo by Joan Marcus.

photos by Joan Marcus

Gia Crovatin and Fred Weller in Neil LaBute's THE MONEY SHOT. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Money Shot
MCC Theatre
Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St
Tue and Wed at 7; Thu and Fri at 8;
Sat at 2 & 8; Sun at 3
scheduled to end on October 19, 2014
for tickets, call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.mcctheater.org

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