Picks and Pans Review: Monster in a Box
Gray's first act in the filmed version of his 1990 off-Broadway stage monologue is to explain the curious title. Monster in a Box refers to his behemoth (1,900 printed pages) auto-biography-in-progress, Impossible Vacation—the tale of a man who finds it "very difficult to take pleasure when in very pleasurable places."
Audiences may be similarly hampered. For though Gray, a self-described "raving talking head," can be witty, whether talking about the late R.D. Laing, writers' colonies, Hollywood agents, even AIDS, Monster in a Box, which was filmed—for no good reason—in front of an audience, doesn't have much immediacy and is far less cohesive than Gray's previous film, Swimming to Cambodia.
The pleasure is further diluted by overloud music and sound effects and inane home movie-style direction. (PG-13)
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