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'Margarita Happy Hour'

Film Fest: 'Happy Hour' a post-party hangover

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

By Barry Paris, Post-Gazette Film Critic

The language is as strong as the half-priced drinks during "Margarita Happy Hour," the late-afternoon gabfests of five slightly disreputable young women on the subjects of life, sex and lactation.

'Margarita Happy Hour'

dot.gif Unrated but R in nature

dot.gif CRITIC'S CALL:

The Three Rivers Film Festival continues through Nov. 24 with screenings at the Harris Theater, Downtown; the Melwood Screening Room, Oakland; and the Regent Square Theater, Edgewood. Information: 412-682-4111.


Those are the Big Three topics, after all, and their hip "Happy Hour" backdrop is New York's underground art and music scene. The chief focus of the quintet is on Zelda (Eleanor Hutchins), who is both an artist and an unwed mother, trying to keep some remnant of -- and hold on -- her previous incarnation as a sexy seductress specializing in rock stars.

Nowadays, Zelda picks up work as a porn-mag illustrator in order to pay the rent on her communal loft, shared with a variety of druggies in Brooklyn. Her romance with washed-up poet Max (Larry Fessenden) is waning fast. Max can't deal with fatherhood, and he's mad about the intrusion of Natali (Holly Ramos), Zelda's best friend, who complicates the problem by moving in and using their place as a kind of halfway house for recovering rock 'n' rollers. She's got issues, too.

Director Ilya Chaiken calls "Margarita Happy Hour," playing at 9:15 tonight at the Harris Theater, "a film about life after the party." As such, it's an interesting if not brilliant melodrama, with an equally feminine as well as feminist attitude.

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