Review: ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ an absurd social commentary
Salma Hayek stars in ham-fisted look at the widening gap between the left and the right in America today
“Beatriz at Dinner” is an insanely heavy-handed liberal fantasy that both sides of the aisle can come together to equally hate.
Salma Hayek stars as Beatriz, a masseuse and family friend of Cathy (Connie Britton), the well-to-do wife of a wealthy California power broker (David Warshofsky). When Beatriz’ car breaks down after an appointment, Cathy invites her to attend a dinner party with a few of her husband’s wealthy associates.
Those associates are Doug (John Lithgow) and Alex (Jay Duplass), who play smarmy and entitled, respectively. (Their wives, played by Amy Landecker and Chloe Sevigny, are there to just laugh and nod along.)
Alcohol is consumed, and it’s quickly made clear that pure, innocent and earthy Beatriz subscribes to different life philosophies than the wealthy capitalist monsters — oh, let’s go ahead and make these guys big game hunters, too, while we’re at it, why not? — with whom she’s in unusually close proximity. Their ideological clash is as subtle as the gruesome visions of revenge Beatriz imagines carrying out on them in her mind.
This laughable, manipulative social experiment is carried out by writer Mike White and director Miguel Arteta, who teamed on “The Good Girl” and “Chuck & Buck,” and who both should know better. Their characters are caricatures, stand-ins for broad political philosophies, and the film is an attempt to capitalize on the gap between the left and right in our country right now.
It does so by making a hero of Beatriz and blatant fools of her counterparts. “Beatriz at Dinner” isn’t part of the solution. It’s part of the problem.
Rated R: for language and a
scene of violence