Starring mildly recognizable faces like Laura Prepon (Orange is the New Black) and Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl, Don’t Trust the B), The Kitchen – so named because the film takes place entirely in a house’s kitchen during a big birthday party- is a eighty minute whirlwind of conversation that makes you wonder, why aren’t people this snarky in real life? Or am I hanging out with the wrong people? Yeah, I’m probably hanging out with the wrong people.
Jennifer (Laura Prepon) is turning thirty, but what’s supposed to be a happy celebration turns into a tense affair when Jennifer’s boyfriend of almost-three-years, Paul (Bryan Greenberg), decides to confess his infidelity the night before her birthday.
Add to that mix is Jennifer’s neurotic party-planning roommate Stan (Matt Bush) who’s desperately (and unrequitedly) in love with her, a sarcastic younger sister Penny (Dreama Walker) who’s got her own big problems to deal with, and countless other tiny dramas popping up throughout the movie, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Seeing as how this is a party so big that it’s clear the birthday girl doesn’t know half the people in attendance, there are a lot of characters. Still, they’re utilized well. A movie with a stagnant setting requires a cast that vibes, and this cast plays off each other well. Their interactions with one another are more often than not hilarious, and the dialogue is fast-paced and witty. People weave in and out of the crowd at the party, but they always circle back to the kitchen for a beer refill, and we get to catch the tail end of a fun conversation.
The Kitchen isn’t all fun and games, though. The film takes turns being snicker-out-loud funny and being serious, especially concerning Jennifer’s sister Penny. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but at one point the sisters sit down and have a heart-to-heart that, rather than feeling out of place amongst all the funny, flowed really well.
The ending, however, felt a bit abrupt considering all the buildup. All the loose ends and story lines tied up a little too neatly, leading to a payoff that feels just the tiniest bit false. Rooting for the characters to get their happy ending isn’t quite enough of a reason for them to get one, especially after only a few hours of turmoil – and yet, because the movie did get me to root for them, I can’t find too much fault with it.
The Kitchen is an enjoyably bumpy ride into the lives of some pretty colorful, yet still remarkably likable and relatable people. Give it a shot!
- Starring: Laura Prepon, Dreama Walker, Bryan Greenberg
- Directed by: Ishai Setton
- Running Time: 1 hr. 19 min.
- Genre: Comedy