Closing Escrow: The Movie

2007, Movie, PG, 93 mins

Review

CLOSING ESCROW: THE MOVIE
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Inspired by their experience as producers for the HGTV series House Hunters, cowriters/directors Armen Kaprelian and Kent G. Llewellyn concocted a mockumentary about three wacky couples and the eccentric Realtors who try to find them their dream homes.

Certifiable life coach Dawn Ernst (Patty Wortham) wants to move out of the home her doormat of a husband, Tom (Andrew Friedman), shared with his ex-wife — the one he left after Dawn stalked him relentlessly, setting the lawn on fire and leaving a dead rabbit at the door as a token of... something. Recently married buppie lawyers Tamika (April Barnett) and Bobby White (Cedric Yarbrough of TV's Reno 911!) are tired of renting and want a cool downtown loft. Accountant Allen Lawton (Rob Brownstein) would like to shorten his commute so he can spend more time with his wife, Mary (Colleen Crabtree), and their daughter, but the real reason they're house-hunting is that the home they bought for $77,000 is now worth half a million dollars — how can they not cash in and move up? Each couple is then perfectly mismatched with a nutty Realtor. The Whites pin their hopes on Hillary Macella (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a closet racist — you can tell by her overwrought efforts to prove she isn't — whose rah-rah enthusiasm sours when Tamika becomes pregnant and the Whites decide they need a family-friendly house in — groan! — the pathetically unhip suburbs. The Ernsts find the only real-estate professional who's demonstrably crazier than Dawn: Richard Billoti (Mad TV's Ryan Smith), a weapons freak who sneaks clients into houses he doesn't represent and tries to bring the price down by doing property damage. The Lawtons draw gung-ho Peter Jacobson (Bruce Thomas), who's just moved onto their block with his wife, "Scrapbook" magazine founder Kelly (Kirstin Pierce), and they drive him to distraction; between their ever-shifting demands and the elaborate renovations Allen is making to their current home, you'd think they didn't even want to move. The inevitable dovetailing of destinies takes place when the couples set their sights on the same house.

Llewellyn and Kaprelian spin a clever idea into a slight but occasionally funny romp that rests on the shoulders of a terrific cast. Reno 911! veteran McLendon-Covey is a standout as the self-deluded Hillary, with her affirmations and her exotic collection of made-in-China gewgaws, but newcomer Wortham matches her scene-for-scene as the bunny-cidal Dawn, who'd rather keep her chihuahuas in a storage unit than move them into a less-than-perfect house. While far from the cream of the mockumentary crop, it's still a pleasant diversion. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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Closing Escrow: The Movie
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