Kurt Voelker’s Park is a humorous ensemble comedy set in one single day in the city of Los Angeles. It’s full of rather varied characters, each struggling with the notion of finding out who they really are and what they really want out of life. That sort of description may sound a bit mundane, as it’s one we’ve all heard before, but with this film, there is nothing dull about it. This enjoyable film observes the character’s behavior with a rather unscripted feel so most of the happenings surprise and entertain instead of boring us to slumber. Set in one location, a park, the film follows a profusion of characters each on their lunch break.
Peggy (Ricki Lake) has some feelings of distrust towards her husband Dennis (Billy Baldwin), so she decides to follow him and his antics. She enlists the help of her friend Claire (Cheri Oteri) to come up with the ultimate way to pay him back for cheating on her with an attractive immigrant from Poland. As the plan comes closer to being executed, Peggy starts to realize that her key to happiness may have been looking in the exact opposite direction as her husband.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, a peculiar girl and an unsociable dog cleaner desperately try to commit suicide due to lack of love and importance in their lives, even though they don’t really have the materials to finish the job. Just as odd is a pair of male nudists who often come to the park on their lunch break just to “let it all out.” Things change a bit for this duo, however, when they bring two girls from work with them to share their experience. Instead, chaos ensues.
Park is the feature length directorial debut from Voelker. He has a great ability to merge comedy and drama equally without overdoing either. It’s a hilarious, crowd-pleasing film about everything from honesty to sex to freedom that’s definitely smart without being too overbearing. The title, referring both to the location and what each character is actually doing, couldn’t have been more apt.