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(11-11-2005)

By G. Allen Johnson


TENNIS ANYONE?

Starring Donal Logue, Kirk Fox, Jason Isaacs. Co-written and directed by Logue. (Not Rated. 100 minutes. At the Act in Berkeley).
Who better to make a comedy about a pair of fringe players on the Hollywood scene than Donal Logue, who has been hovering on the periphery for about 15 years. Logue ("The Tao of Steve") stars, co-writes and directs about a pair of losers who find themselves on the celebrity tennis circuit as marriages fall apart, careers are ruined and the repartee never stops flowing.
Danny (Logue) and Gary (Kirk Fox) are two struggling actors who have a couple of things in common. They are both from Mexican border towns in California, and both are fanatical about tennis. Danny is the more successful of the two, having just scored the lead in a series (as Logue did in "Grounded for Life"). Gary stays afloat by giving tennis lessons to the well connected.
As his wife (Kylie Bax) leaves him and his career becomes increasingly irrelevant, Danny and Gary form a bond that is strengthened on the celebrity tennis circuit. Their chief nemesis is a comedic film star (Jason Isaacs) who associates career success with worthiness as a human being.
Is it a great film? No. Logue's rumpled personality and easygoing charm is likable, but too often he cuts corners with some rather obvious scenes. It's hard to believe for one minute that a veteran actor of Danny's talent would ever let himself be coerced into performing a lame Arab jihadist comedy act at a Jewish charity event, for example.
But the question the filmmaker is asking, perhaps of himself, is a legitimate one: How worthy is a life that consists of nondescript supporting film roles, a lousy TV show and a string of failed relationships? Change the names and job description, and it's a question we often ask of ourselves.
Note: Logue will appear in person at the Saturday evening shows at the Act in Berkeley.
-- Advisory: This film contains language and sexually suggestive scenes.





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