Tom and Anna. Joseph and Susan. These four people (portrayed by Bryan Greenberg, Tammy Blanchard, Dominic Fumusa and Emanuela Galliussi, in alphabetical order), two couples meet for a Sunday Brunch drinking session to celebrate Tom’s business success. As the drinks continue, the party spirals downwards to rock bottom.
The film feels at times too much of a set up. The first instance this can be observed is at the start of the film when the couple, when kissing accidentally breaks the grandmother’s vase that has been there for generations. If the vase was this valuable, why would they leave it in such a vulnerable place. Another is the arm wrestling. The clearly strongest guy unbelievably loses his two matches.
A few glaring dialogue corrections. It is not the plug but outlet or socket that does not work. On the positive side, the dialogue contains a lot of current issues. Issues such as negativity vs. positivity, eating meatless, sexual appropriateness and male chauvinism come into play. The males are clearly meant to display male chauvinism here that the wives will surely rebuke. The designated psychic’s dialogue is terribly annoying and corny. “Change the impossible to – I M possible.” The film often turns out more as a contest between male vs. female, rather than one about couples.
One wonders the reason for the film to be shot in black and white. It could be deliberate to evoke the black and white 2 couple film of Edward Albee’s play, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis and George Segal with the identical premise of two quarrelling couples drunk at a house party with the result of skeletons jumping out of the closet.
One missing ingredient at the party is a dance interlude. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? had the famous Sandy Dennis scene: I dance like the Wind, the segment that likely won her the Oscar.
“Live in the present. That is the only gift we have,” is the message given at one point. “Then that is a pretty shitty gift,” comes the answer. Would anyone want to be present at this party?
The first twist in the plot in the form of a skeleton in the closet arriving right at the film’s one hour mark. It is a good one that lifts the film out of declining interest. 10 minutes comes another twist. This one, however does not work and turns the film into a shouting math among the 4 – not to mention the credibility now of the story. The credibility of the third turn in the plot is not even worth mentioning. The film also suffers from a suitable ending. Director Ronalds opts for the camera panning the sky outside the apartment.
“We are finally cleansed. We should be happy. We could start from the beginning.” says the wannabe psychic at the end of the movie. If only the audience feels the same way about the movie. FOURPlAY ends up a pauper’s version of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, and a party no one would like to be at or witness.