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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

'C Street' Theatrical 'The Apartment' Meets 'Alpha House'


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The summer political comedy "C Street," which hits select theaters on July 15 2016 ahead of a larger rollout, nicely combines the 1960 loser with little self-respect and an apartment Jack Lemmon/Shirley MacLaine classic "The Apartment" with the Amazon original series "Alpha House," which parodies the real-life group of conservative lawmakers who share a Capitol Hill home.

Although the sleazy corporate executives in "Apartment" who coerce ambitious ladder-climber C.C. Baxter into letting them use his place as a lust nest call him "Guy," the Baxter counter-part in "Street" actually is named Guy. The apt last-name of this low-level senatorial re-election campaign worker is Poppett.

Poppett is a research assistant for the repulsive in every sense Senator Fallon, whom Dylan Walsh of the television series "Nip/Tuck" plays with wonderful unrestrained cheese. A scene in which Fallon points to a bulge in his American flag boxers and says "Hail to the Chief" provides an excellent sense of this character.

Fallon uses Chez Poppett on Capitol Hill to rendez-vous with campaign worker Haley. Guy surprising Haley one day leads to them bonding in a comparable (but far less dramatic) manner in which Baxter and MacLaine's Fran connect in the abode of Baxter.

The other power-brokers who play at the Poppett pad include prostitute loving Congressman Wood, who seems to be based on  Anthony Wiener of  New York, and Reverend Fink, who takes a very hands-on approach to curing 20-something men of their homosexuality. (The hilarious song "Be Straight for Jesus" during the end credits make sticking around for them mandatory.)

The promised payoff for Poppett is a coveted high-level Senatorial aide job. The altruistic motives for this advancement include helping pass healthcare reform. Of course, the reality of this legislation reflects typical Washington cynicism.

Classic sitcom fans get their first big treat in the form of seeing "Family Ties" dad Michael Gross as Governor Appalachia. His secret love is a deaf-mute woman with whom he seems to have a genuine bond.

The second sitcom treat is Don Stark of "That '70s Show" as the very Mel Brooksesque Eastern European maintenance man of the apartment building. Highlights of his scene-stealing performance include stripping off his jumpsuit to perform a very disturbing ballet.

Seeing the aforementioned reprobates and a few other characters hold what essentially is a frat party at the apartment is as realistic as the ensuing scandal. Of course, the powers-that-be throw Poppett to the media wolves.

The spin doctors behind the scenes wrap all this up with a cute ending that is as realistic as the deplorable behavior that provides most of the entertainment in the film.

The filmmakers additionally demonstrate that Kickstarter, low-impact location shooting (and perhaps using the living and work space of friends) facilitate getting your artistic vision to the public. No one will confuse "Street" with "Apartment," but you will laugh and may feel some emotion.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Street" is welcome to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,