TV Review: The Leisure Class (2015)

Posted: November 12, 2015 in Comedy


Charles (Ed Weeks) is planning to marry Fiona, (Bridget Regan) the daughter of a wealthy, old money, Senator Edward Langston. (Bruce Davison)  Fiona’s sisters, Carolyn (Melanie Zanetti) and Allison (Scottie Thompson) fly in for the wedding.  Charles’ brother, Leonard (Tom Bell) shows up out of the blue, and tries to ruin Charles’ perfect day.  He gets Carolyn drunk at a party, and Carolyn is later involved in a car accident.  Senator Langston tries to make the bad headlines go away, but Fiona is not at all sure she wants to marry Charles, and Charles’ real name is William, what exactly is going on here?  Is William a con-man?  Is Leonard a con-man?  Do William and Fiona get married or is the wedding off?

The Leisure Class is the movie that came out of HBO’s latest season of Project Greenlight, and if I was Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, I would be looking for a place to hide right about now.  The story starts out as a variation of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” except not in the least bit funny.  And then the tone changes from slapstick screwball comedy to incredibly serious, with no warning and for seemingly no reason. Writer Jason Mann has no ear for comedy, that’s for sure, the dialogue isn’t funny, there’s a lot of bathroom humor, and of course it features Hollywood’s favorite profession, prostitution.  What’s a Hollywood farce without a prostitute?  There is no plot development, no character development, and no likeable characters, why should I care how it ended?  I didn’t. The female characters seem particularly underdeveloped, which males the twist particularly perplexing.

The acting is not great, Ed Weeks plays the straight man to Tom Bell’s wacky wildcard, and neither comes off particularly well.  Bruce Davison chews scenery like he’s hungry for attention, The women are objectified and kept in the background for much of the film, Melanie Zanetti suffers the most from this treatment.

The direction, also by Jason Mann is technically competent, is not anything to be proud of.  There seems to be a lot of improvisation in this movie, but instead of snappy repartee, Ed Weeks and Tom Bell spend a lot of time talking over each other, and trying to top each other, and fail miserably. Bruce Davison overacts unmercifully and Mann does nothing to rein him in. The other actors look increasingly bored with the proceedings and seem to phone in their performances for a majority of the film. If Jason Mann is the future of Hollywood, I weep for Hollywood.

The Leisure Class:  Classless.


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