Film

The Claustrophobic Tiger Lily Road Could Be Darker and More Kinky

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While not as kinky, dark, or schizoid as debuting director/screenwriter Michael Medeiros intends, Tiger Lily Road succeeds on its own small, claustrophobic level. Medeiros is a longtime character actor, and it shows: His two stars, Ilvi Dulack and Karen Chamberlain, playing middle-aged, sex-starved small-town women, have a juicy, simmering rapport. And there are enough evocative winter scenes to subvert the story’s potential staginess.

The plot is dopey and farfetched: Wallflower Annie (Dulack) and hellcat Louise (Chamberlain), jilted by the same man, take out their frustrations on that man’s accidental murderer (Tom Pelphrey), a young, handsome delinquent they impulsively decide to hold hostage. It’s Misery with more lingerie and no mallets (yes, there’s even a blizzard). Perhaps aware of the clumsiness in both the crime cover-up and feminist revenge angles, Medeiros throws in an abundance of lowbrow gags — uncontrolled vomiting, a misplaced dildo, a prolonged Viagra reaction.

Milosz Jeziorski’s clownish score has a tendency to stop abruptly before a supposedly disturbing act and then pick up right after, as if to underscore the film’s own jokiness. But Medeiros could have really plumbed this material, brought out something truly explosive and thought-provoking about scorned women. Still, it’s always commendable when a filmmaker devotes ample screen time to women older than 35 (even Annie’s elderly mother gets in on a few randy gags). And a late dish-throwing scene is pure hilarity.

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