Celebrity Shorts

Celebrity Shorts
There’s an ample amount of star wattage in the Celebrity Shorts program for the Worldwide Short Film Festival, with Hollywood’s power players making appearances both in front of and behind the cameras. However, it goes without saying that some of the shorts featured in this high profile category are less than economical with the talent that has been bestowed upon them. Lance Armstrong goes out on a limb to play a diva version of himself in the mockumentary Lance is a Jerk but with The Office’s Rainn Wilson playing opposite the athlete and doing little to elevate the hammy humour, the diversion soon becomes tiresome. The Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel has never seemed more idyllic than as perfect girlfriend Charlotte in Life is Short, playing opposite Samm Levine’s vertically-challenged and unappreciative boyfriend Gene. The conceit here is that Gene dumps Charlotte because of his dream to net (get this) a taller woman. One could have only wished that this lame 12-minute skit had taken a cue from its lead character and been, well, shorter. It should be mentioned that not all of the longer shorts tested the patience. Jennifer Aniston delivers a respectable debut behind the camera as a co-director in the well-acted Room 10. The 18-minute short stars both Robin Wright Penn as an irritable nurse that’s tired of her husband and Kris Kristoffersen as a soon-to-be-widower who offers some lessons on how to appreciate married life. The gems in this program are the two that clocked in at less than three minutes and played with form more than content. The first is the dubbing experiment Specialized Technicians Required: Being Luis Porcar, which is a concise, self-reflexive and comical send-up that honours the forgotten voices behind the international film cartels. The second gem is Oh La La, where director Isabella Rossellini proves that the influence of her frequent collaborator — experimental director Guy Maddin (Brand Upon The Brain!) — has rubbed off on her in this orgiastic ode to Paris. Together, these last two segments exemplify the best that this festival can aim for: to be short and sweet.