A screenwriter writes a screenplay about a group of friends writing a screenplay in the independent feature film Around the Bed.
In last year’s Tom Ford movie Nocturnal Animals, we got to see a movie played within a movie as Amy Adam’s character reads a novel created by her ex-husband. Now, on a much smaller scale, Lovelace Lee III, Donnell Turner and Addison Witt together direct a segment each of a similar Inception-like movie called Around the Bed.
A writer (Tom Ardavany) is trying to create the next big Hollywood blockbuster from the safety of his own home. His idea for a plot is about five friends and aspiring actors coming together around a table to flesh out ideas for a new screenplay idea. This idea of theirs revolves around a university professor and former mafia assassin who loses his memory after a car crash and is tormented by the ghosts of his former victims whilst stuck in a double bed. Confused? It’s understandable if you are, but it is quite easy to understand whilst watching the film.
We get to see the writer writing, as well as the five friends plotting their blockbuster and their film as well. The actors who play the five friends also play the characters of their movie. It’s a film, within a film within a film within a film. I actually really like the premise of Around the bed, it has real potential – a head-scratcher? Yes, but many great movies throughout the years have been a little confusing too – just see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a perfect example.
The real issue I have with Around the Bed is the execution of said good idea. The camera work isn’t the greatest, and you can tell when a shot has used multiple cameras as the quality differs and is quite jarring in places. The framing is wrong in parts too – for example, we have a wide for all five friends sat around a table, but one or two are only half in the shot. Just moving the camera back a meter would have solved this issue. When the camera does manage to get the actor/s in the shot, the framing is boring with poor lighting. It wasn’t just the camera work that failed the production either – the sound design was rather lackluster with an on-camera mic being partly used too.
As for the performances in Around the Bed, most were a little over-the-top and scenery-chewing, but I didn’t mind that. It added charm to the proceedings in a strange way. The actors were all likable and watchable. The screenplay was humorous at times with some decent dialogue throughout but it mainly stuck to three locations – the writer’s home, a living room for the five friends, and (like the title of the film) around a bed for the injured assassin. It’s obvious that all those involved were trying to make the most of what little they had, but I can’t help but wish there was a little bit more for them to play with. Still, Around the Bed is a good little idea of a film that could have been. Not a bad effort.