A picture every aspiring actor and director must see
J. Kearney | Marina del Rey, CA USA | 12/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A smart romantic comedy with insider insight into the creative process, Frankie & Johnny Are Married is the first example of what a television A-list director can do making an indie feature with inexpensive production technology. Michael Pressman is an actor's director not a visual effects guy, so expect a character and performance driven story without the rough edges and ambling arcs often associated with indie fare.
A central issue here is how a director, known for expert handling of "difficult" cast members, controls an actor less interested in learning his lines than in the sexual charisma of his leading lady, the director's wife. Alan Rosenberg, who has since become President of the Screen Actors Guild, gives a marvelously nuanced performance as the selfish actor. Lisa Chess bravely portrays an actress juggling career and family duties at an age when some are auditioned but few are cast. Pressman is energized and charming, lurking in the background of scenes with just enough worry in his eyes to crack you up.
Taking the film beyond the show biz beltway is the larger issue of all the risks a married couple takes when working together. Director Pressman has a precise command of tone, so the blend of drama and comedy is well balanced. You fret as you laugh when Chess' most dire predictions are surpassed, while her husband keeps re-doubling his bet on their creative passions.
So why haven't you heard about this wonderful film, which did well on the festival circuit? "Frankie" was released during the summer of 2004, when a political propaganda film sucked up all the promotional air (and most of the available screens) on the indie circuit. In late 2006 "Frankie" finally got some visibility on the Starz/Encore cable networks, but it's best to own this one on DVD because you get more out of it with each viewing.
The underlying story is based on actual events. Alan Rosenberg generously put his own good name out there, remixing the deeds of a notorious thespian whose true identity is known to about 99 Los Angeles theatre insiders."