The Perfect Host
Posing as the friend of an out-of-town friend, career criminal John (Clayne Crawford), having just robbed a bank of $300,000, and needing a place to hide, talks his way into the home of Warwick (David Hyde Pierce), an effete Los Angeles intellectual. When his ruse breaks down, John gets violent with Warwick. Before long, though, the tables are turned, with Warwick proving to be far more demented and dangerous than John. Flashes back in time, meanwhile, indicate that a relationship with ailing bank teller Simone (Megahn Perry) may have factored into John’s robbery. As dawn approaches, could a game of chess really decide the fate of two men?
Helmed by feature debut director Nick Tomnay, The Perfect Host actually cruises along for a while on the relative strength of its two wholly invested lead performances. The first twist, Warwick's extreme instability, isn't a spoiler, because it occurs 20-25 minutes in, and is being featured in the film's marketing. Subsequent pivots, however, are all variously obvious or completely ludicrous. As the movie trips into the next day and tries desperately to find a way to extend its conflict, all manner of logic and reason breaks down, and it becomes clear that Tomnay and Krishna Jones' script is only a collection of desultory, attention-whoring bits that ape a young film school graduate's ill-formed idea of dramatic payoff. Of course, if one wants to see Pierce boogie down in surreal fashion to Rose Royce's "Carwash," this is probably the only chance you're going to get. (Magnet, R, 93 minutes)