CQ (2001)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - May 24, 2002 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - France , Italy , Luxembourg , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Paul (Jeremy Davies) may take his 16 mm film diary too seriously, but writer/director Roman Coppola brings ample humor to his movie about Paul's attempt to juggle both his personal filmmaking and his personal life with the troubled production of a low-budget French sci-fi flick. CQ is hardly a groundbreaking film; it doesn't have much new to say about artistic compromises, the blurry line between illusion and reality, or the other topics that have interested the numerous directors who have created movies about their own profession. However, it is an entertaining homage to the cinema of the late '60s. The scenes from the film-within-the-film "Dragonfly" are particularly entertaining thanks to production designer Dean Tavoularis and the rest of Coppola's crew, who successfully convey the grooviness of '60s movies such as Modesty Blaise, Barbarella, and Danger: Diabolik. The campy cinematic style and amusing details (e.g., snow on the moon) are likely to amuse viewers even if they don't catch all the film-related in-jokes, and Jeremy Davies finds just the right mixture of earnestness and exasperation to maximize the effectiveness of his scenes. Most of the remaining cast members also fare well even though they don't get to play multidimensional characters. Billy Zane is fun as a sci-fi revolutionary based on Che Guevera, Jason Schwartzman is also amusing as an obnoxious flavor-of-the-month director, and Dean Stockwell is quite good in a small, serious role as Paul's father. Unfortunately, the scenes in CQ that are unrelated to Dragonfly tend to be too slow-paced, and the conflict between Paul and his girlfriend isn't particularly compelling. Also, CQ lacks a satisfying ending, which is somewhat ironic since it's about a director's struggle to find a satisfying ending to two movies. Nonetheless, CQ is enjoyable as long as you don't take it too seriously.