Austin Hillebrecht and Sean Parker co-directed and co-wrote this indie comedy about a would-be filmmaker (played by Hillebrecht) who gets a menial job as a production assistant at a cheapo direct-to-video outfit. Outraged at the abysmal quality of the film he is working on, the cinema-obsessed hero engages in a stealth operation where he rewrites the screenplay into a work of higher quality. The film’s cast and crew join on the movement to upgrade the production, and only the director is left in the dark.
To its credit, “Coup De Cinema” is handsomely filmed and edited, plus it scores some genuine laughs by highlighting the canon of the Z-grade production company’s output.
But the film never quite clicks. Hillebrecht’s character is too much of a smug smarty-pants to be genuinely endearing, and a subplot involving his pursuit of a somewhat disinterested young lady is a bore. Also, the film loses comic mileage as the convoluted plot progresses further. The problem might be in the characters’ pursuit of excellence – in my opinion, this limits the comic opportunities. I would argue that the clueless creation of a bad film (a la “Ed Wood”) or taking a crummy property and making it worse (as in “The Producers”) is a funnier concept than taking a bad film and making it better. One could imagine a great deal of comic potential in having the young cinema-obsessed central character falling deep into a Troma-style operation, but pulling off a feat of celluloid alchemy is not that compelling.
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