The location is terrible, but Donna’s bed & breakfast used to be known for service that was quite solicitous, if you follow. Now she only provides lodging and food. It is a family business now, involving her developmentally challenged teen son Jimmy. Unfortunately, they are about to get a lot of the wrong kind of business in Nick Chakwin & David Guglielmo’s Hospitality (trailer here), which opens today in Los Angeles.
The last time Cam stayed at the B&B, Donna was still providing “room service.” In the meantime, he served a prison sentence. However, he has not returned first thing after his parole solely because of her charm. He also stashed the loot in one of her air-conditioning ducts. Finding it proves harder than he anticipated, thanks to her renovations. Fortunately, he is in no hurry to leave, nor is she inclined to hustle him on his way. In fact, they have something nice going, until the arrival of additional interested parties spoils the mood.
Hospitality could have been a reasonably watchable trashy movie, but it has serious issues involving radical tonal shifts, starting with the buzz-killing wife-beater slap Donna takes within the first five minutes from Hirsch, her former pimp turned small town sheriff. From there on, Chakwin & Guglielmo’s screenplay flounders about, trying to figure out whether or not we should also sympathize with Cam, but never giving us a reason to care.
Emmanuelle Chriqui and Sam Trammell are not exactly Tracy & Hepburn or Bogart & Bacall, but they have chemistry coming out of their ears compared to Aaron Paul and Emily Ratajkowski in Welcome Home. In fact, the relationship between Donna and Cam ebbs and flows in interesting, less cliched ways. It is also quite amusing to watch Jim Beaver chew the scenery as Donna’s second mysterious guest. You also sort of have to give JR Bourne credit for fully committing to Hirsch’s utter contemptibleness.
Ultimately, it is a shame Hospitality could not be more offensive, because that would have also made it more memorable. It is both small in scale and limited in thrills. Not recommended, Hospitality opens today (12/7) in the LA area, at the AMC Universal City.