It’s a real treat for me to be able to include TROUBLE DOLLS as a “Must See” Festival Film as it marks the directorial debut of Jess Weixler, an actress whom I have had the pleasure of knowing since her first leading film role in “Teeth” over seven years ago. Watching her growth as an actress has been a privilege as she has acted opposite talents like Jason Ritter, Joshua Leonard, Jane Adams, Nick Offerman, Mark Webber and yes, the legendary Tippi Hedren. To see her now bring TROUBLE DOLLS to life as a writer/director together with Jennifer Prediger is a joy.
Co-writing and directing with Jennifer Prediger, the two also star in the film as Nicole and Olivia, respectively. Co-dependent best friends and roommates, Olivia is a wannabe actress while Nicole is a wannabe artist. On the verge of eviction from their NY apartment by their landlord and Nicole’s much older ex-boyfriend, and with no income to pay the rent in sight, the girls decide they need a vacation and head to Los Angeles to visit Nicole’s Aunt Kimberley.
Aunt Kimberly lives a lush life in Beverly Hills thanks to her successful reality talent show a change of scenery and time with her may be just what the girls need to jump start their lives. Laugh out loud comedy abounds as the lusty, libidinous and inebriated Kimberley takes a shine to Olivia, Nicole’s illusions about her family are crushed and vulnerabilities test the bounds of friendship.
Well written characters give TROUBLE DOLLS a strong foundation on which Weixler and Prediger build style and technique, complimenting sharp dialogue and performances with superb production values. With a good eye for framing, the two work with cinematographer Daniel Sharnoff to create a tonal bandwidth that melds visuals and emotion while capturing some true money shots. Casting is impeccable thanks to fun turns by Jeffrey Tambor and Will Forte and an unforgettable “shades of Karen Walker” showstopper by Megan Mullally.
Put Weixler and Prediger on your radar folks. There’s more to these “Trouble Dolls” than meets the eye.
Written and Directed by Jess Weixler and Jennifer Prediger
Cast: Jess Weixler, Jennifer Prediger, Megan Mullally, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Forte
(2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Review)