The Young Unknowns (2000) Movie Review

(Movie Review by Oshram ) If there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s when young filmmakers bitch on-screen about how horrible it is to work in Hollywood. My friend Steve had a phrase for this type of film — he called it “Hollywood crawling up its own asshole” — and even years later, I cannot think of a more fitting phrase to describe this type of film, of which “The Young Unknowns” perfectly fits into.

“The Young Unknowns” follow a day in the life of four persistently irritating twenty-somethings: Charlie (Devon Gummersall), his abusive friend Joe (Eion Baily), his annoying girlfriend Paloma (Arly Jover), and a girl Joe knows, Cassandra (Leslie Bibb). Charlie is a loudmouthed and overly opinionated jerk who works in commercials, and spends most of the film badmouthing Paloma, his work, the industry, and just about anything else that comes to mind. He’s a constant stream of negativity, and spending even the film’s slender 87 minutes with him is a chore.

It doesn’t help that girlfriend Paloma has almost no personality to speak of; she accepts Charlie’s trash talk for most of the film before finally, wisely, departing. In Joe, we find an even bigger jerk than Charlie. Joe beats his girlfriend and snorts up on any horizontal surface he happens to be near at the moment. And Cassandra? Well, she’s just stupid, that’s her only sin, but thrown into this mix of insensitivity and self-centeredness, she starts to look almost appealing after a while. Almost.

Most of the film is Charlie spouting off about how independent he is, when it’s clear he gets work because his dad is in the industry. The rest has Charlie and Joe continually haranguing women and, of course, the filmmaking industry. If I want to be subjected to this kind of unpleasantness, I could just move to Hollywood and became a cog in the machine and see it for myself.
It’s business, kids; it’s not art. We get it. So stop making whiny films about how awful it is to be twenty-five and underappreciated. No one outside of your depressed little circle cares.

The actors give their all, I can say that much. Gummersall really throws himself into the role, and Baily, while he’s playing little more than the typical scumball, also turns in a good performance. Neither of the women impresses, but that’s more the fault of the script and direction. Jover never gets to do anything but be put-upon, and Bibb, whom you might recall from the TV show “Popular”, is abused throughout. Given the rampant misogynism and nihilism, it’s no wonder both women seek an exit as soon as they can. I would, too.

Watching “The Young Unknowns” is like listening to the emergency broadcast tone, only less fun. I’m sure the filmmaker was going for ‘edgy’ and ‘authentic’, and I’m sure jackasses like the ones portrayed in this film actually exists out there in Hollywood and elsewhere. But only a masochist would want to spend any time with them, or this movie about them. If these people are unknown, they sure as hell deserve to stay that way.

Catherine Jelski (director) / Catherine Jelski (screenplay)
CAST: Devon Gummersall …. Charlie
Eion Bailey …. Joe
Arly Jover …. Paloma
Leslie Bibb …. Cassandra
Dale Godboldo …. Franklin
Simon Templeman …. Sebastyn


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