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Kitchen Party

Year: 1997
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 92 min
Director: Gary Burns
Producer: Christine Haebler, John Hazlett
Executive Producer: James Head, Scott Kennedy
Writer: Gary Burns
Cinematographer: Robert Aschmann
Editor: Reginald Harkema, Mark Lemmon
Sound: Daryl Powell
Music: Shaun Tozer
Cast: Kevin McNulty, Jason Wiles, Jerry Wasserman, Sarah Strange, Scott Speedman, Tygh Runyan, Laura Harris, Gillian Barber
Production Company: Sub Urban Film Co. Ltd.

When Brent (Kevin McNulty) and Barb Smith (Gillian Barber) go out for a dinner party one night, their son Scott (Scott Speedman) takes the opportunity to throw an impromptu and forbidden party in an attempt to humiliate his anti-social, basement-dwelling older brother Steve (Jason Wiles). However, there must be no trace of the party whatsoever by the time of the parents’ return since the perfectly aligned vacuum tracks on the living room carpet are evidence of Barb’s anal retentiveness.

As Scott’s kitchen party gets underway, Brent and Barb are across town sipping cocktails and unwinding to muzak with some of the other parents. As the liquor flows more freely, grown-up chit-chat gives way to veiled insults, sexual posturing and outright physical combat. Back at the younger generation’s party, things degenerate when Wayne (Tygh Runyan) falls onto the cherished carpet and Scott’s girlfriend, Tammy (Laura Harris), runs off with his big brother, only to discover the reasons for Steve’s bad reputation. Inevitably, the younger and older groups converge and any delusions of middle-class bliss are shattered.

Asmart, sharp-edged comedy that skewers two generations at once, Kitchen Party opened to positive critical reviews but a tepid box-office response. It was hailed by the New York Times’s Stephen Holden as a "scathingly funny satire ... the funniest, nastiest comedy of manners to come down the pike in months ... so dead-on it convinces you that contemporary suburbia just might be a sprawling, sterile anteroom to hell itself." The film screened at numerous international film festivals, winning two prizes at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema and the award for Best New Western Canadian Director at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

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