The Warwick family are unknowingly being filmed for a new reality show. Problem is, they’re boring. So the producer, Mickey Wagner, must add conflict and drama. Their lives begin to unravel with shocking consequences
I absolutely HATE the genre of reality television. It celebrates the lowest common factor of our species and makes celebrities of the worst examples of humanity. I consider its popularity a sign that human civilization has collapsed and we are returning to the days of ancient Rome, where the high point of the day was watching people die in gladiatorial games.
That being said, I LOVE this movie. It is the perfect indictment of how the modern definition of entertainment has become nothing more than a cynical bloodlust that revels in the suffering of others.
Writer/director Adam Rifkin (SMALL SOLDIERS, MOUSE HUNT, CHILLERAMA) gives us SHOOTING THE WARWICKS, a feature length film based on his 2012 Showtime mini-series, REALITY SHOW. All the original cast have returned to tell an even darker tale than the one he gave us back then.
Sleezy television producer Mickey Wagner (Adam Rifkin) thinks he has a plan to rejuvenate the genre of reality tv. He picks a family at random, putting them under constant surveillance without their knowledge or consent, to create actual reality tv. Only problem is, the family isn’t all that interesting. Dad Dennis Warwick (Scott Anderson) is a successful accountant. Mom Katherine Warwick (Kelly Menighan Hensley) is a classic upper middle class stay at home mom. Daughter Amy Warwick (Monika Tilling) is an honor roll student, head cheerleader, totally virginal goody two shoes who is on her way to Harvard.
In order to make the show more interesting, Wagner starts interfering in their lives to create drama. He starts out small – kidnaps the family dog Harry and films with glee as the family seeks him out. Following that success, the show starts to gain sponsors. Now Wagner has to sneak products into the family home for product placement.
Oh, but his research is faulty! The jar of peanut butter that the assistant feeds to the dog creates total havoc. Amy is deathly allergic to peanuts, and when the dog licks her face, she goes into shock. The parents fire the housekeeper, who has been with them for 12 years, assuming she must have brought it in.
Then a condom company signs on, so the assistant slips a box of condoms into Dad’s gym bag. Oh, another mistake! Mom has a hysterectomy. They haven’t used condoms in years. Yet another situation created.
As the film progresses, Wagner interferes with their lives more and more with greater consequences for the family each time. The worse Wagner makes things for the family, the more the network loves it.
Without even the slightest hint of remorse or hesitation. Wagner keeps upping the ante. He sets up Amy’s boyfriend and her best friend to have a tryst, severing a friendship that has lasted since the third grade. He hires women to attempt to seduce Dad so his infidelity can be yet another dramatic turn. Even as things spiral out of control and his crew thinks enough is enough, he just keeps making things worse. You wonder…how far is he willing to go? At what point might he actually grow a conscience and put an end to this?
The family, meanwhile, have no idea why their fortunes have changed. Wagner is completely destroying their lives behind the scenes and they are clueless. Can they possibly keep true to themselves in the face of such adversity, or will they turn to the dark side and make for good television?
This film is dark comedy and satire at it’s finest. It’s like a more sardonic version of THE TRUMAN SHOW, if that’s even possible. There are so many levels to consider when watching this film. Absolutely brilliant.
A lot of fun cameos in the film. You’ll just have to be surprised when you watch it and see how many people you recognize.
On a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 9 lens flares.