LA Weekly

Review — January 01, 2001

Though its title might suggest a playhouse built of grease-stained pizza boxes and soiled tube socks, in actuality there isn’t a stained or soiled thing going on in director Gregory Ruzzin’s light, well-intentioned and too-tepid-to-be-trite new feature. A bunch of healthy-looking, Anytown, USA-dwelling white people, whose tiny, tinny lives remain in the general orbit of a divorced mom named Delmar (played by ER’s Jorja Fox, who resembles a more robust Julianne Moore), occasionally convene over fabulous home-cooked meals to furrow their brows about nothing in particular. One night, Delmar’s Cadillac-collecting, anthropology-teaching, Mayan shamanism-practicing brother, Jethro (Peter Murnik, a hunky Harry Connick Jr. type), and his affably drunk pal, Marlon (David Shackelford, whose ass-crack is the film’s idea of “funny”), find a black ex-convict (Bill Nunn, who deserves better) sleeping in the back of a car. Without hesitation, the whole ensemble adopt him as their new best friend. The rest of the plot — something about surrogate mothering, evil lawyers, and a restaurant that shares the film’s title even though all its customers come in couples — is as undernourished as its characters are stuffed. Blissfully uninvolved with the realities of American race relations, this spineless feel-good nonsense means to warm the cockles of your heart. Somebody check the oven: My cockles were charred.




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