Peep World Reviews
Henry Meyerwitz has four grown children: Jack, the architect; Joel, the lawyer who took 8 times to pass the bar exam; Cheri, the failed artist/actress; Nathan, the writer, who is seven years younger than Cheri. Henry is distant and imperious. Jack is tasked each year with paying for an expensive dinner in honor of Henry's birthday.
By Henry's seventieth birthday, family relations have gone from being tense and dysfunctional to harsh and confrontational. The main reason for this change is the wide success of Nathan's book Peep World, which is more than a bit too biographical for the comfort of Cheri, Joel, and Jack. To make things worse, Jack's business and revenue have shrunk, Joel's legal career is at a snail's pace, and Cheri's career is going nowhere. The topper is that Henry has a new girl friend Amy, who is the actress that plays Cheri in the film of Nathan's book.
In the hours leading up to the seventieth birthday dinner, the slow burns of the principal characters are exposed. At the dinner, they burst out, capped by Henry's speech returning all their fire.
Will the family gain some cohesion out of all this?
Cinematography: 8/10 Well shot for the most part; on Netflix it seemed to have some intervals of focus that was too soft.
Sound: 7/10 No particular problems, but I thought the sound could have been more of an asset to the film than it was.
Acting: 8/10 The large cast included several skilled actors doing fine work.
Screenplay: 5/10 The threads came together well at the end, but I thought the film would have been better without a narrator. Just to be clear, most of the laughs I got out of the film were from Lewis Black's expert delivery--as the narrator. The film was billed as a comedy; why should most of the humor come from the narrator's performance?
In its cringe inducing way, "Peep World" feels like a particularly misguided and crude pilot episode of which the best performances are from those on the periphery, Judy Greer, Guillermo Diaz, Kate Mara & Taraji P. Henson, who know enough not to force things. To be fair, there is one classic meta moment where fiction collides with reality.(Oh wait. Now, I get that other joke and instantly wish I hadn't.) Otherwise, the movie serves as an object lesson as to why one should not use Norman Mailer as a role model and never, ever go to a doctor one finds on Craigslist. Seriously, I don't know what the movie is trying to say, as all of the central characters can simply be written off as screw-ups, even Jack, who has his own secret. If they had been struggling to get anywhere, that would have been a definite improvement and would have grounded the movie in some kind of reality.
I liked the premise for this film; it's an opportunity to say something about art, authorship, and familial relationships. But instead of being a round character, at one point, the author has to fuck away a surgically induced hard-on. Each of the characters is given his/her cliched identity, a mold that amounts to a mere type. They're all boring people, and none of the situations is a particularly compelling, identifiable conflict. One brother is pursued by loan sharks, one goes to a peep house, and a sister doesn't like the eponymous novel -- boring, boringer, and boringest.
The worst part of the film is that all the lead-up amounts to a climactic scene that is anything but a climax. A bunch of people scream at each other. Ho hum.
Overall, this film could have been interesting if the scrapped almost everything in the script.