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Fourplay in LA Review

on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 00:00

Life can be defined as many things—a journey, a marathon, an adventure. At its most basic, however, life is a series of moments and experiences, snapshots in time stored in our memory banks to remind us of who we are, where we’ve been and the many friendships we’ve made along the way. Strung together, they tell a story but they can also be remembered individually, small nuggets that add up to a lifetime. Narratives are the same way—while many have a beginning, middle and end, others can be experienced and enjoyed merely for the individual nature of the moment.

So it is with Fourplay in LA, a five-episode web series about a group of women in their twenties sharing an apartment in Los Angeles. Although there is no overarching plot connecting the three-to-six minute installments, they still stand as humorous snippets about life and friendship and being a young female in the Twenty First Century. While that may sound simplistic, there is in actuality a modern sophistication surrounding Fourplay in LA—the series may not be a West Coast Sex and the City, but it has a unique perspective nonetheless that is brought to life by witty, well-written dialogue and enjoyable performances by the quartet of actresses.

The episode titles are straight forward and each installment consists of a series of discussions on a specific topic. “I’m Fat,” for instance, starts with Suzie (Erica Rhodes) on a scale which literally reads “fat.” While the other characters debate the implication of the revelation, Suzie appears distraught over the lack of compassion from her roommates. “I thought most guys would sleep with anything that moves as long as you’re not 300 pounds with a mustache and body odor,” she pleads at one point.

“I Love You” centers on Annabelle (Amber Nimedez) and the fact that her loser boyfriend said those three little words to her, although technically he didn’t. “With him, it’s like he’s really dedicated to it,” she later explains in regards to his constant video game playing. “It’s his passion, he’s not just procrastinating.” “Grapefruit Shake,” meanwhile, involves Rhett (Myrah Penaloza) making a concoction that does not include the proper ingredients to be classified as a shake. The true gem of the five episodes, however, is “Vagina,” in which Kinsey (Kendrah McKay) returns from a date with a guy who couldn’t find her nether region during sex.

“If a guy can’t find my vagina on his own, I’m certainly not going to help him,” she tells her roommates before adding that he was “poking and prodding in all the wrong places.”

“Our series came about one night at Urth Cafe, a tea house in Santa Monica,” actress/producer Amber Nimedez explains. “The four of us sitting around, talking about our goals, joking about how it would be funny if we created a web series about an exaggerated version of our lives. We approached my friend Erica’s sister, a writer living across the country in Rhode Island, to write some episodes. She said yes and created five episodes inspired by her interpretation of us through what she read on our Facebook pages.”

Hillary Rhodes, the writer friend in question, indeed crafted enjoyable and humorous scripts filled with dialogue that is both crisp and witty despite the limited scope of the subject matter. Some sample quotes include: “Too fat to be thin but too thin to be funny,” “We only have one cute outfit for the four of us,” and “He’s telling me to look hot—do you think he thinks I’m not hot or is he telling me to look hot because usually I’m not?”

In addition to the strong writing, Fourplay in LA also has a polished and professional feel to it. A recent MA graduate, Richie Yau, was recruited to film the web series along with a full roster of stage hands and support staff. Although the episodes could easily have turned into nothing more than a series of talking heads spouting dialogue, the director moves the characters around the sets and gives them natural movements within the situations. This is most evident in the final episode, “Sugarland,” in which the four roommates try on various clothes for a Saturday night of LA clubbing—while the action focuses on one character, the others can be seen roaming from room-to-room in the background.

In the end, Fourplay in LA takes what could be considered flaws—simplistic plots with no connecting storyline over the course of a limited number of episodes—to craft a series of both amusing and entertaining nuggets about the life of twentysomething females living the California dream. The actresses are endearing, the dialogue natural and realistic and the production value on par with any web series. And that makes it a winner.

Anthony Letizia (July 5, 2010)

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