Vertical Entertainment
Reviewed for & linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: James Kapner
Writer: Chris Baker
Cast: Chris Baker, Ezra Buzzington, Eliza Coupe, Rocio de la Grana, Trent Eisfeller, Greg Finley
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 9/27/21
Opens: October 22, 2021

This alleged dark comedy features some of the most obnoxious characters you’ll see on the screen (or online) this year. What’s more, their attributes are projected by director James Kapner to be nothing short of cartoonish. The entire, thankfully brief eighty-five minutes of running time, is indulged by annoying, intrusive music on the soundtrack, as though the production does not trust the audience to realize that everything said and done is tongue-in-cheek, aka “aren’t these fellas the cutest?” There are plenty of sitcoms available on TV, some of them even more disingenuous than “The Estate.” Methinks Mr. Kapner may have done better work with the shorts, TV movies and TV videos that fill his résumé; this is his first feature-length movie.

Similar comments might apply to Chris Baker in this, his first feature-length film as writer. He is easily handsome enough to take either of the principal male roles in “The Estate,” and, in fact, oh! he is indeed one of the principals in “The Estate.”

George (Chris Baker) is a stereotypically gay young man living in his father’s L.A. estate with his stepmother, Lux (Eliza Coupe), the latest trophy wife of George’s dad Marcello (Eric Roberts). The trouble is that George’s skinflint dad provides the elaborate housing but without a sufficient allowance to keep George and Lux afloat. They plot to kill him and, as the only close family members figure the can cash in big, though this is just a pipe dream until they meet hunky Joe (Greg Finley), who turns out to be more than a dude tomcatting for an evening bed partner. Joe is interested not only in the bedding Lux and George but in cashing in when he hears of the ambitions of his latest barroom catch.

Credit the plot for a dizzying series of twists. Some people turn out to be physically stronger than we would expect, their prowess frustrating the aims of the maliciously ambitious trio, but there is not much other than what you can see on your cable channels.

85 minutes. © 2021 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – C-
Acting – B
Technical – B-
Overall – C

By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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