By Eric Campos | July 25, 2000

Four middle managers at an unknown company squabble as hopelessly as they do loudly around their small boardroom table. Finally, the boss gets them to shut the hell up for a moment and proposes a radical solution. He pulls a palm-sized wind-up toy puppy from his breast pocket and lays down the following rule: No one speaks unless they’re holding the puppy. It works for a few moments; the erstwhile combatants meekly holding up their hands and waiting for the puppy to patter Tim Conway-like across the table before they speak. Of course, the civility can only last so long before one of the participants, refusing to abide by the rules any longer, pulls out his own nastier toy to destroy the offending puppy. Soon, the businessmen are engaged in a plaything arms race; a cutthroat metaphor for the Darwinian world of capitalist excess.
Okay, that last phrase is probably reading a bit much into Ben Rock’s highly amusing and entertaining short film. If these toys really are being used as some sort of metaphor, such usage is far overshadowed by the sheer visual goofiness of two cutesy stuffed animals savagely ripping the stuffing out of each other.
Shot with canted camera angles straight out of the “Batman” television series and set in a primary-colored room out of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” “The Meeting” is as subtle as a hostile takeover…only a lot more fun.

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  1. Ben Rock says:

    Hey – if you happen to stumble across this review, I just recently put this short up on Vimeo. Additionally, I re-transferred it from the 35mm negative, so it actually looks pretty damn bitchin’, about as close as you can get to having seen it on its original festival run. You can see it here:

    Give it a “like” if you like it!

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