The House of Yes (1997) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and language
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, Freddie Prinze Jr., Genevieve Bujold
Director: Mark S. Waters
Screenplay: Mark S. Waters
Review published January 28, 2002
The House of Yes will probably not be for all tastes, as the subject of incest among twins probably won't be considered funny or entertaining to many a viewer, especially when combined with the tragic assassination of one of the United States' most beloved presidents, John F. Kennedy. However, the writing is too fresh and Parker Posey's performance as an insane woman too humorous to dismiss outright as a bad film, so you're going to have to read the plot carefully to know if it's likely to offend you.
Parker Posey (The Daytrippers, Party Girl) plays Jackie O. No, not THE Jackie O., she only models herself after Jackie Kennedy because, well, she's a little crazy and obsessive. She isn't just obsessed with the Kennedys but also with her twin brother, Marty (Hamilton, With Honors). Jackie has always vied for Marty's attention, killing his pet lizard for drawing away too much of his love and attention, and even shooting Marty in the abdomen so he wouldn't leave her. Marty did eventually go away to college, and Jackie has been on medication that doesn't always suppress her mood swings. Things aren't likely to get better when Marty brings home Lesly (Spelling, Sol Goode), his new fiancé, to the family home. Disaster always seems looming, as Jackie is unpredictable in her behavior and still very much in love with Marty.
The House of Yes is based on a play by Wendy MacLeod, and although one can see the elements of it being a play due to taking place in several rooms of one house, it isn't too stagy to be enjoyed as a film. First time writer-director adapted it for the big screen, and the writing is fresh and witty, and the acting by Posey, Prinze (Scooby-Doo, Summer Catch) and Hamilton are very good for their respective roles. If there is a downside to the film other than the sensational content, it probably is the casting of Tori Spelling as Lesly. I know there are a lot of Tori Spelling bashers out there who will slam anything she is in, but in this film it may be justified. She is too California to buy as the conservative girl-next-door, and her portrayal doesn't seem natural to the part.
As much as I enjoyed the writing and some of the performances in The House of Yes, I can only give it a marginal recommendation due to a lack of interest in the overall story, which lacks weight or much in surprises. Some may like it much more, other much less, so your mileage will certainly vary. The promise of something more is certainly there, but it remains just a witty diversion for those times when there's nothing else to watch.
©2002 Vince Leo