Someone’s mysteriously killing off the obnoxious collection of snooty short filmmakers attending the 2nd Annual Mike Wong Film Festival in a variety of oddball fashions. Not to fear, however, for struggling British documentary filmmaker George Sand (Alan Cox) is on the case, determined to find the killer behind this lethal game of cinematic “Survivor.”
Who could the murderer be? Is it Arthur Wong, (Dana Lee), out to avenge the accidental on-set death of his director son Mike (“Star Trek Voyager”‘s Garrett Wang)? Maybe it’s cute but brooding filmmaker Rosemary Olsen (Natasha Lyonne), Wong’s former girlfriend who was responsible for his death and whose nihilistically brooding entry “Black Roses, Black Carnation, Black Days” appears awfully incriminating. Then again, how about Elliot Lewis(Daniel Canter), last year’s winner who’s so reluctant to give up his title. Or how about Sand himself?
How’s about who cares?
Writer/director Evan Oppenheimer has nothing new to say in this tiresome, cliche-ridden satire of pretentious filmmakers and the films they make. Though it’s doubtful Oppenheimer intended it this way, such caricatures as an Orthodox Jewish filmmaker doing a take on Spike Lee come across almost as offensively as the Indian spoof of “Pulp Fiction”.
Regardless of whether one finds the cultural stereotyping of the filmmaking contestants bothersome, the mock short films they’ve supposedly entered are tedious parodies; the types of films they spoof being already so unintentionally laughable, it’s hard to poke fun at them.
“The Auteur Theory” probably cracked these guys up while they were making it…but the “groaner” quotient is way too high for the general public. That is, of course, assuming they even understand the humor behind such in-jokes as a disgruntled filmmaker starting up the rival “Mike Dong Festival” as a tired send-up of the Sundance vs. Slamdance rivalry.
Knowing the number of undeservedly self-important filmmakers out there, maybe the most depressing thing about “The Auteur Theory” is that Sand manages to wrangle the killer before he permanently removes these irritating clods from the filmmaking island.