Like a sitcom pilot, The Kitchen opens by foisting quirk and contrivance on stock characters. Unfortunately, like a sitcom pilot that never should have been picked up for series, The Kitchen can’t even make those stock characters likable. No one wants to celebrate Jennifer’s (Laura Prepon’s) thirtieth birthday, not the birthday girl herself, nor any of the scores of twenty- and thirtysomethings who traipse through her apartment, all of whom seem to be her roommates. Even her hopeless admirer Stan (Matt Bush) throws her a party ostensibly to win her love, but only really seems interested in chastising the other characters for their libertine ways. You may remember Prepon from That 70’s Show, where she mostly let her red hair speak for her, occasionally observing the hijinks of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis with mild interest. That was a better role. Here, she’s asked to play ambition in the gallery world: “What I really want is to find an artist no one else appreciates,” she tells her sister, Penny (Dreama Walker), who, as if commenting on the uncommitted acting and the implausibility of the writing, cuts Jennifer off and steers the film back to the subject with which it’s most comfortable: cheating and getting cheated on. Walker and Kenny (Tate Ellington), one of the house’s stoners, have the movie’s only chemistry. Screenwriter Jim Beggarly seems to think that if you come up with an idea like “crazy party,” the dialogue takes care of itself.
Ishai SettonLaura Prepon, Bryan Greenberg, Dreama Walker, Matt Bush, Tate EllingtonJim BeggarlyMonterey Media