Who doesn’t love a slapstick, homespun parody about Hollywood? Introducing Jodea, directed by Jon Cohen and written by Chloe Traicos, is everything wretched about the film business with all its elitist behavior through a goofy side lens sprinkled with some funny insights and off-beat humor. It has all the makings of a 21st-century left-of-center comedy spin on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1913), but it ultimately falls short.
Jodea Maxwell (Chloe Traicos) is a struggling actress at the nethermost point of her life. From the moment you meet her, you question why she’s in Hollywood, which sets up a string of potential humorous circumstances. She is a down-and-out reject of life with a cheating boyfriend, Greg (Miles Faber), who does not care about her and just moves from one directionless job to another. As a result, she gets fired, banned from agencies, sleeps in what appears to be an abandoned motor home, and drives a broken-down Ford Escort. Her life is grimy, poor, and pathetic. However, Harold (Ryan Pratton), Jodea’s friend, along with a slightly inappropriate odd man who loves Jodea from afar, comes to her aid as she struggles and continues her desire to be an actress.
“…Zac happens to back into Jodea’s car after firing her and trying to pay her off.”
Fired as the production assistant to a low-budget film with supposedly esteemed director Zac Kawalsky (Jeff Coppage), who has terrible behavior, spent time in rehab, and needs a hit film, Jodea does not give up. An insensitive and entitled director, Zac directs his latest production off-set from his trailer from where he barks orders. A microphone on set sits on his director’s chair for those to speak to him. Zac’s wife, Isabella (Yadira Pascault Orozco), is the lead and producer in his current production, but he catches her cheating with her co-star. Fast-forward, Zac happens to back into Jodea’s car after firing her and trying to pay her off. Of course, this series of events eventually leads to sparks between Jodea and Zac. From there, Introducing Jodea plays out as expected.
For a low-budget comedy with a 1980s-style soundtrack, which is a little annoying, Introducing Jodea should have more bite to it. The film portrays the Hollywood fringe with paparazzi, gossip, and all the trimmings of being in the limelight and the underbelly of the business characterized mainly by Zac’s agent but overly broad. The film does feature some great Los Angeles scenic shots along with an amusing radio announcer, narrator. Yet its scrappy, shallow, and not-so-funny moments and disconnected acting prevent it from being the comedy it craves to be. Plus, the make-up doesn’t work. Its heart is there but with little support to keep it pumping.
"…its heart is there..."