Film Review: Ovation

With its story of backstage dramas going haywire, 'Ovation,' yet another light comedy trifle from notably prolific West Coast writer/filmmaker/distributor Henry Jaglom, won’t get one from this seat.
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In spite of some outlandish situations and impossible-to-believe infatuations, Henry Jaglom’s latest might provide some frissons for live-theatre fans with its whimsical backstage story of theatre folk in varying degrees of trouble. Set exclusively in quite a nice-looking Santa Monica theatre, Ovation gives us a contemporary behind-the-scenes tale interweaving threads of intrigue, nonsensical twists, and improbable romance within a troupe whose play, although creating great buzz, may be forced to close for financial reasons. In other words, a backer is needed.

While a few snippets of onstage drama inform that the play, called The Rainmaker, is apparently set in the Wild West, the film’s drama unfolds backstage as it throws a wide net to capture a variety of characters and their dilemmas. Primary among these is Maggie (Tanna Frederick), the play’s star—and what a star she is. Her performance is apparently so remarkable that word-of-mouth has gotten big-time TV star Stewart Henry (James Denton) to attend the show. He is so wowed that, after bringing Hildi (Diane Salinger), his super-powerful TV executive producer/showrunner for his upcoming series, to a performance, it becomes his mission to lure Maggie to the TV show that he claims is destined for worldwide appeal.

He also woos her, and Maggie seems tempted. But as happens in theatre families, she already has a lover in fellow Rainmaker actor Earl (David Lee Garver), but he’s fooling around with another backstager. Meanwhile, another actor, Zoe (Sabrina Jaglom), is having a difficult time with her actor boyfriend Gideon (Benjamin Chamberlain), who is prone to turn really abusive. To the rescue comes Zoe’s brother Michael (Simon Jaglom), the show’s techie/lighting/sound guy.

More happens, of course, with more characters in the mix, but why mix things up even further? An absurd turn of events has several characters actually comfortable with being accessories to a murder—that’s entertainment for some.

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