NEW SUIT is a knowing yet gentle parable about the evils of show biz. Specifically, the film biz as practiced in the mythical land of tinsel and hype. A place where there is so much style that no one there noticed that substance departed, tail between its legs, many, many moons ago.
Which is why Kevin Taylor (Jordan Bridges) still possesses something like a moral compass. Hes not from there. Like so many hopefuls, come to La La Land to make it big as a screenwriter and, predictably, lands work pressing espresso and foaming lattes while waiting for his big break. It comes, sort of, in the person of Marianne Roxbury (Marisa Coughlin) a perky wanna-be producer who is biding her time as a trainee at the biggest talent agency in town. One thing leads to another and Kevin doesnt land a power agent, but he does land a job as an assistant to some medium-big wigs at Kingdom Studios and access to a group of other studio assistants, each more pretentious and superficial than the last. During a particularly trying lunch, as his cronies spew regurgitated opinions about scripts theyve never seen, Kevin invents one on the spur of the moment, the eponymous NEW SUIT, and starts the rumor that its the hottest script in town. So hot, that its author, Jordan Strawberry, is about to close the biggest deal in movie history for a first-time writer.
Well, one thing leads to another and suddenly the nonexistent script by a fictitious author really IS the hottest script in town, setting off a bidding war and leaving Kevin standing in the dust as the lie not only takes on a life of its own, but takes off at Mach 3 while doing it.
Writer Craig Sherman knows that he is not blazing any new trails by exposing the underbelly of Hollywood. He takes as a given that we all know its a place built on dreams and hot air. Mostly hot air. Whats clever, and more importantly, fun, is watching Kevin, the last honest man there first enjoy what hes created, then become appalled, and then, in a last-ditch attempt to do the right thing, tell the truth. He fails for two reasons. One, too many careers are on the line at this point. And, two, no one there has any clue about what truth as a concept is, much less posseses the tools to deal with it.
Throughout director Francois Velle uses a light touch with the script and its worldview that is more wry that screwball. And so it is that Kevin receives his first script rejection from the aptly named Plastic Studios. And so it is, further, that fellow aspiring writer and current flunky Juan (Benito Martinez) records his scripts on tape in case the producers and execs cant read. An idea that is not so much droll as frightening. His characters, however, take a turn from the standard Hollywood types. Marianne is an ambitious agent, but she channels her barracuda instincts into a frothy sort of sincere insincerity, captured with plasticine perfection by Coughlin, and while Kevin is a decent guy, there is nothing about him that could be called cream puff or pushover or even naive. For that matter, there is little of the usual sleaze to the VPs for whom Kevin toils. There is, however more than enough in their boss, Muster (played with wisely restrained bombast by Dan Hedaya), the only broadly written character, but such an expected staple of the reel Hollywood because that type is such a staple of the real Hollywood. It would have been wrong, just wrong, not to have him around getting hot tips in more ways than one from his high-priced call girls. Sherman solidly sets a counterpoint to the comedy, by creating a palpable whiff of desperation emanating from everyone concerned, solidly grounding the action with an unexpected pathos. Even the bodaciously monikerd studio boss, Braggy Shoot (Paul McCrane), an unblinking ice monster, is never without his personal feng shui consultant, who busily rearranges everything around him from furniture to place settings to improve the free flow of chi and, by extension, money and power.
NEW SUITs real value lies in its minute observation of the whirlwind-style chaos that separates the business of moviemaking from its creativity. It explains much of what you see at the local multiplex. Garbage in, garbage out.