‘Apartment Troubles’: A Bid for Showbiz Legitmacy

By Mark Jackson, Epoch Times
March 27, 2015 Updated: April 17, 2015

When guys complain about “chick flicks,” “Apartment Troubles” is the one they’re talking about. Even if they haven’t seen it yet.

A good romance is one thing; a dude likes a good romance every once in a while. A man can enjoy “The Notebook.” But two nonstop whining, drama-spewing, virulently co-dependent chick roommates, hand-wringing about their imminent East Village illegal sublet eviction and hitting up their folks for money—is quite another.

It’s supposed to be funny and cute for chicks, but for most of the testosterone tribe, it’s the cinematic equivalent of being tied to a chair in that East Village apartment with a broken air conditioner while listening, for two hours, to cats caterwauling in the alley.

It would be an understatement to say that one never manages to care about any of these characters.
You’ve got Olivia (Jennifer Prediger) and Nicole (Jess Weixler). They’re an actress and a multimedia “artist,” respectively, in an early-career, wannabe phase. Their electricity’s now been turned off; they get bawled out by their schlubby landlord (Jeffrey Tambor).

Jess Weixler (R) and Jennifer Prediger in the film "Apartment Troubles" which they cowrote, codirected and costar in. (StarStream Entertainment)
Jennifer Prediger (L) and Jess Weixler in the film “Apartment Troubles,” which they co-wrote, co-directed, and co-star in. (StarStream Entertainment)

What to do? How about suddenly smooching schlubby landlord, in order to fire up what looks like a previous Nicole–landlord “relationship” but which is clearly an unscrupulous “rent-negotiation” arrangement?

Rejection! He’s had it. Good for you, schlubby landlord. You resuscitate your dignity! Just say no to postmodernist bohemian updates of the world’s oldest profession.

 But hey—the girls are resourceful! They’ve run out of food, so they decide they’re already on a “cleanse.” They’re suddenly juice fasting. Nicole further cleanses by smudging every square inch of the apartment with sage. That’s always good.

 Good for what? It might serve to hasten the exodus of the earthworms crawling on their walls from their compost pot (which Olivia normally removes with chopsticks. Probably chopsticks because worms are so noodley.)

 So seriously, what do you do when there’s no food or rent money? You go to California for vacation. It’s just a minor coincidence that Nicole’s rich aunt Kimberley (Megan Mullally) happens to live there.

But before we go to California, here’s this reviewer’s favorite line of dialogue: Olivia’s black cat eats some gold paint out of one of Nicole’s open paint tubes and expires. Olivia to Nicole: “You’re jealous of the pure love he had for me.”

Let that sink in for a minute. The girls then torch dead kitty on a rooftop funeral pyre. Maybe the neighbors thought it was an oddly aroma’d barbecue, with notes of hairball.

Olivia, who looks like a more feminine version of Janeane Garofalo, cries the entire six-hour flight to L.A. about dead kitty. That would be the flight on Nicole’s dad’s private jet. Can you say “privileged problems”?

They finally arrive at Aunt Kimberley’s McMansion, where they drink wine and sing Broadway show tunes, accompanied by Auntie’s ukelele. Guys? Who’s still with me? Anybody?

Eventually Nicole throws the minuscule stick figurine Olivia’s always whispering to over a cliff, “Because your teeny-tiny therapist didn’t seem to be making progress with you!” And furthermore: “I can’t live with you and your touchy-feelyness! You need to get a boyfriend!”

Probably even the ladies would agree at this point. It would be an understatement to say that one never manages to care about any of these characters, not to mention the lack of narrative, pacing, momentum, and character arc. It’s a very, very slow ride.

On a completely different note: Weixler and Prediger wrote, directed, and star in this, which is very, very awesome. To compete in showbiz, you gotta get out there and create your own product. They did that! Congratulations to them.

And as the adage goes, “Write what you know.” Quite possibly they did that too. And you know what? These two are good actresses. And this will get them noticed. And that is awesome.

Expect to see nice reviews for these two young ladies, acting in other people’s future projects. For now, “A+” for effort, “D” for delivery, “F” for chick flick.

‘Apartment Troubles’
Director: Jennifer Prediger, Jess Weixler
Starring: Jennifer Prediger, Jess Weixler, Megan Mullally, Will Forte, Jeffrey Tambor
Running time: 1 hour, 18 minutes
Release date: March 27
Not yet rated
1.5 stars out of 5

Follow Mark on Twitter: @FilmCriticEpoch