Made in Romania (2010)

Rating: C+

Dir: Guy J. Louthan
Star: Joe Shaw, Steve Nicolson, Jennifer Tilly, Joey Slotnick

Tilly plays herself in this pseudo-documentary, detailing efforts to film her pet project, a Victorian mill drama called The Tides of Reason, along with producer Sebastian Grove (Shaw). A budget is raised by dodgy producer Ronald Krapner (Slotnick), who insists they film in Romania rather than the UK, for tax reasons. Filming is about to start, when the director has to be fired for paying too much attention to his leading lady; desperate for a replacement, they get Rodger Marston (Nicolson) at the last minute, based largely on his showreel. However, once they reach the studio, the shoot’s problems really start.

The local crew have a distinctly un-Hollywood approach to their work; the studio is over-run with packs of wild dogs; Marston turns out to be a gay psychopath with an extremely dubious past; the director of photography keeps getting arrested; the budget mysteriously evaporates, and the local mafia also have to be handled. Needless to say, Grove is out of his depth in handling things, as he tries to stop Krapner from discovering the truth and closing down the production. This seems to have slid by almost without notice: the IMDB has one review for it, and that’s about as many as I found. It’s a slight little piece, not without its merits, especially when it goes for a dry, deadpan British humour. For example, when Sebastian stumbles onto the shoot of a porno movie, and politely declines the offer of a blow-job from the actress with, “Er…just had one.”

It’s also nice to see Tilly poking fun at her persona, and there are a couple of British B-icons who show up, playing themselves [though damn it, the only reasonably-sized image I could find gives those away; just don’t expect to see either in a major role]. However, the film doesn’t know what to do with its ducks, when it has lined them all up, and frankly, peters out in the final 20 minutes, just when it needs to be accelerating into escalating insanity. One also suspects that organized crime in the former Eastern Bloc is not quite as pleasant to work with as shown here, and nor are the police as accommodating. If you stumble across it, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes; however, I wouldn’t suggest putting significant effort in to seeing it.