The Money Shot OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • VARIETY

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
September 22, 2014
Closing:
October 19, 2014

Theater: Lucille Lortel Theatre / 121 Christopher Street, New York, NY, 10014

Synopsis: 

Karen and Steve are glamorous movie stars with one thing in common: desperation. It’s been years since either one’s had a hit, but the latest movie by a hot shot European director could change that. The night before filming a big scene (that will undoubtedly assure them a spot back on the pop culture radar), Karen, her partner Bev, Steve, and his aspiring actress wife Missy meet in order to make an important decision: how far will they let themselves go to keep from slipping further down the Hollywood food chain?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Money Shot

    Where Sex Is Just Part of the Act ‘The Money Shot,’ by Neil LaBute, Satirizes Hollywood

    Ben Brantley

    September 23, 2014: Jokes about the stupidity of particular groups of people are generally a no-go in these days of political correctness. But it is still open season on one unfortunate subset of humanity. I don’t mean members of Congress, who are beyond a joke, or fashion models, who are suddenly being treated with aspirational respect. No, I’m talking about Hollywood actors, who have been serving as fish-in-barrel rifle practice at least since movies learned to talk. So let’s get started: How many Hollywood actors does it take to screw in a light bulb? Neil LaBute neither poses nor answers that question in The Money Shot, his raunchy new sitcom of a play that opened on Monday night at the Lucille Lortel Theater in an MCC Theater production. But if he did, I’m sure he’d have a body slam of a punch line. As it is, he and the director, Terry Kinney, manage to stretch what is essentially a single dumb movie star joke into 100 minutes of arduous, repetitive and occasionally hilarious stage time.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Money Shot

    Neil LaBute's comedy, set in Hollywood, takes on some obvious targets but doesn't do much with them

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    September 22, 2014:

    Lampooning Tinseltown types is like shooting fish in a barrel. If you’re firing at easy targets like self-adoring divas, clueless actors and starving starlets, it’s hard to miss. For a while, Neil LaBute’s aim is true in The Money Shot, presented by MCC. And Elizabeth Reaser proves an especially good trigger woman as Karen, a self-dramatizing actress who fancies herself a “brand.” Besides acting and do-gooding, Karen has launched a lifestyle blog (yeah, like Gwyneth Paltrow). Karen doesn’t love homemaking. But her film career has dipped in the days since she indulged her bisexuality and bought a home with her lady love, Bev (Callie Thorne, drolly acidic), a burgeoning filmmaker. Their snazzy love nest, high in the Hollywood Hills, is the show’s lone setting.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Money Shot

    Neil LaBute's new comedy makes its world premiere at MCC Theater

    Hayley Levitt

    September 22, 2014:

    Neil LaBute finds his latest foursome of grownups behaving badly in the Hollywood Hills where substance is sparse and The Money Shot is never too costly. He reunites with his reasons to be pretty director Terry Kinney at MCC Theater for the world premiere of his new comedy, which packs a stunning amount of intelligence into 100 minutes of delectable idiocy. A roomful of New Yorkers can relish in the movie-making world of mindless greed — though, if you listen hard enough between fits of laughter, no one walks away without their share of humble pie. A series of eerie camera flashes sends us into a dinner party for four. The scene is a swanky outdoor patio overlooking the Los Angeles skyline — a flat, poster-like landscape that designer Derek McLane cleverly uses to foreshadow the depth of the impending conversation. A sinewy Hollywood star named Steve (Fred Weller), has commandeered the floor. Dressed by costume designer Sarah J. Holden in tight jeans and a leather jacket he could have pulled off 20 years ago, Steve is pretentiously recounting a recent conversation with his European film director. Karen (Elizabeth Reaser), costumed in a flowing navy gown, dramatically tosses her head back in laughter as Steve's knowing costar and a fellow member of the community she fondly calls "the talent." Steve's much younger and aptly named wife, Missy (Gia Crovatin), doesn't seem much to mind the inane conversation as she brainlessly twirls her long blonde locks, but Karen's significant other Bev (Callie Thorne), who dressed up for the occasion in a baggy T-shirt and yoga pants, is clearly fed up with the whole ordeal.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF The Money Shot

    Off Broadway Review: Neil LaBute’s ‘The Money Shot’

    Scott Foundas

    September 22, 2014:

    Four characters dangle precariously from their respective perches on the Hollywood power ladder in Neil LaBute’s The Money Shot, an acid-tongued showbiz satire that makes up in belly laughs and inspired performances what it lacks in nuance or novelty. This is a somewhat kinder, gentler LaBute piece, in which cruelty takes a backseat to a kind of blithe, self-absorbed cluelessness. And while its targets may be obvious — celebrity egomania, self-congratulatory activism, trashy blockbusters, diet fads — the barbed accuracy with which “The Money Shot” shoots them down is a minor but consistent pleasure. Whether or not a Broadway transfer lies in the offing for the author’s latest, an L.A. staging is certainly called for. LaBute is certainly no stranger to the Hollywood trenches, where he’s carved out a prolific if erratic movie career in the two decades since his 1997 Sundance breakout In the Company of Men — an odd mix of personal projects and jobs-for-hire that has run the gamut from a prestige literary adaptation (Possession) to an entertainingly hokey “urban” thriller (Lakeview Terrace) and one catastrophically bad horror remake (The Wicker Man). So it’s not surprising that many of the observations in The Money Shot have the ring of slightly exaggerated truth, of too many hours logged meeting with upward-failing studio executives and listening to the vacuous bloviations of overpaid actors on the heated, bamboo-lined patios of their Laurel Canyon mansions.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Money Shot

    The Money Shot Theater review

    Adam Feldman

    September 22, 2014:

    “…suck on that, you little bitch!”: This bon mot is the first line of dialogue in The Money Shot, and little else in the play surpasses it in wit. Neil LaBute’s snide comedy, about movie stars and the romantic partners dragged along in their finicky wakes, actually begins a few moments earlier, with a lightning storm of paparazzi flashbulbs. It’s as though LaBute shared the belief, sometimes attributed to 19th-century Native Americans, that being photographed stole your soul. That might account for the utter spiritual and intellectual vacancy he ascribes to his characters, albeit in ways that are ultimately no less vacant. Fred Weller, charismatic as ever and impressively fit, plays Steve, a moronic boor of an action-flick star with a young, blond airhead of a wife, Missy (Crovatin), whom he treats like a dog. Elizabeth Reaser is Karen, a classical beauty sculpted from crumbling clay (and a raft of cultivated showbiz mannerisms); her girlfriend, Bev (Thorne), is a butch, Ivy-educated former athlete who works in postproduction. They have gathered in the Hollywood Hills to discuss the logistics of a sex scene that Steve and Karen are set to film with an envelope-pushing director from Belgium (which Steve doltishly insists is not part of Europe). How much of their bodies are they willing to expose to keep their aging fame alive?

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