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Featured DVD Review: Soapdish

September 29th, 2011

Soapdish - Buy from Amazon

Soapdish opened in theaters 20 years ago and while it was not a major hit opening weekend, it did earn good reviews and had reasonable legs. I fear it is mostly forgotten now and the daytime soap opera is quickly fading away. Will the latest DVD release help bring in new fans? Or is it too much a part of the past?

The Movie

We are introduced to several cast members of The Sun Also Sets as they arrive to the Daytime TV Awards where Celeste Talbert has been nominated for the twelfth time. When she wins, it should be a joyous time for her, but that night she learns Adam left her, Adam being the married man she was having an affair with. Meanwhile, there's a lot of infighting on the set of The Sun Also Sets. While Celeste is the number one actress on the show, Montana Moorehead wants to usurp her. She plans to accomplish this by bribing the producer, David Seton Barnes with sex. The first plan is to write a plot where Celeste's character, Maggie, does something evil, like kills a homeless deaf-mute girl, but the actress cast to play the victim is Lori Craven, who just happens to be Celeste's niece, who moved to New York City to become an actress. Celeste recognizes Lori in the middle of rehearsal and breaks character. The head of daytime television, Edmund Edwards, sees this reunion, and he loves the idea. And just like that, Lori becomes the newest member of the cast playing Angelique.

Plan number two involves bringing back an old cast member, Jeffery Anderson, who used to be a major star on the show playing Dr. Rod Randal. But many, many years ago, he and Celeste had an affair that went south and she had him fired as a result. Now he's working dinner theater in Florida. Montana and David bring his character back, which poses a bit of a problem for the writers, as his character was decapitated. (This does setup a great line by Whoopi Goldberg, who plays the head writer, Rosie.) He jumps at the chance to be back on the show. Not only will it give him a chance to get back on top, it will also give him a chance to ruin Celeste's life.

This plan has a better chance of success. The moment Celeste see that Jeffery is back, she reacts poorly. And Jeffery is very motivated to make her pay. So motivated, that he's decides to get to Celeste by hitting on Lori. This drives Celeste so mad that Montana and David write a new storyline into the show where Dr. Rod Randal and Angelique becomes lovers, but before they kiss for the first time in rehearsal...

Okay, that's way too big of a spoiler.

I hate soap operas. I used the term, "Soap Opera" as an insult when writing reviews. However, I love this movie. It nails the inherent silliness of the soap opera genre with all of the convoluted storylines and intertwined relationships. All of the actors throw everything they have into their parts. This is not a film for subtlety. (Speaking of the cast, it's amazing. There are numerous really talented actors in the film, including some that were pretty early in their careers, not to mention several prominent people making cameos.) There are many in-jokes here, including a more general look at the behind-the-scenes of a TV show. There are a few moments that drag, and some of the character development moves a little too fast. (For instance, Lori goes from nice girl to diva really fast.) But there are more than enough jokes that hit their mark that this doesn't matter.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD is a four-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.

The Verdict

Soapdish is a very fun movie that should entertain most fans of soap operas, and especially those who would like to see the genre taken down a notch. The DVD is nearly featureless, so whether or not it is worth picking up or renting depends on the price. It's $11 on, which is $1 more than I would want to pay, but not a bad deal.

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Filed under: Video Review, Soapdish