Escalation is one of the sure-fire principles in comedy, and it’s on full display in Jenna Ushkowitz‘s The Dinner Party. The short film begins with the simple premise of the lead character, Steve (Eric Nelson), bringing his girlfriend, Serena (Kate Easton), home to meet his family.
Serena is first introduced to Steve’s sister, Sage (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), who is a new mother. Sage became a parent when she married Malcolm (Carl McDowell) and is now stepmom to his daughter, Luna (Lauryn Speights). The family dysfunction continues with the arrival of drunk Uncle Joe (Michael Hitchcock), classic screen mother Lydia (Nana Visitor), his father (ashes in an urn), and ex-girlfriend Sarah (Becca Tobin).
“…Steve [brings] his girlfriend, Serena, home to meet his family.”
The Dinner Party is a character-driven comedy where the humor escalates over the course of the night with the introduction of each new, insane character. Director Ushkowitz and writer Penelope Lawson (from Award This! Nominated film 1 Night in San Diego) paces the story out perfectly like a song leading to the final crescendo of lunacy at the end. Of course, it also helps to have some veteran actors and comedians in Michael Hitchcock, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and DS9 great Nana Visitor anchoring the film.
Running at just under 15 minutes, The Dinner Party is a hilarious way to start off 2022.
"…a hilarious way to start off 2022."