Naked Doris Dorrie

Back in my days as a fine-arts major, I used to roll my eyes when some would-be writer would claim to be writing something "about relationships," because the phrase is usually code for "I have no frame of reference beyond my own love life." I was reminded of this by the people in the "relationships" drama Naked, who are very good at talking incessantly on the topic of their partners but not about anything else. The subjects are a trio of couples in various states of torpor: one at the bottom of the economic heap and broken up, one in the middle and unwed (for now), and one at the top and uneasily married. Everyone is dissatisfied but nobody's talking in public — until the dinner party that brings them all together explodes, that is. On the surface, this is a reasonably watchable talkathon, sort of a 30-something Woody Allen movie with better jokes and more hip-now production design. But while you nominally buy the plot, ogle the sexy actors and enjoy the colourful look, you have to admit that things don't get beyond the universe of these very small people. The lines ring true but not beyond themselves, the actions have no greater significance than the moment and the look seems more designed to line up with current trends than to express anything about the environment they're assigned to. Thus when the sextet rig a thoroughly meaningless contest to prove their love for each other, it has the impact of a fly hitting a windshield, with the only real advantage being that it gets their clothes off. Eleventh-hour attempts to say something about money come late indeed, too much so to save it from being an elegant time-waster. (Mongrel Media)