Movie Review – Authors Anonymous (2014)

Director: Ellie Kanner

Stars: Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, Tricia Helfer, Jonathan Bennett, Jonathan Banks, Teri Polo, Dennis Farina, Dylan Walsh

This mockumentary focuses on a writers’ group that shares their work and supports each other…until one of them gets a break, then jealousy comes out and the group shows how bitter they can be.

Let me start by saying that I don’t think the film made a good use of the mockumentary format, and in fact there are few mockumentaries that actually do. Often, especially in television shows like The Office and Modern Family the style of the mockumentary is forgotten. Aside for some talking head shots there’s not really a need for this to be a mockumentary. However, I do think a documentary that focuses on a writing group would be a good film, so someone should definitely get on that.

There are a number of different personalities in the group, and I thought the actors do a good job of personifying their characters and making them go a little deeper than the stereotypes they were set out to be, although I feel a little bad for Cuoco since she doesn’t get to stretch her acting chops at all. She’s basically playing Penny.

When one of the group makes it big chaos ensues, for part of the bond was that they were all struggling, and the other writers have to try and put their ego aside, which is no easy task. There are a number of subplots as well to deal with romance and the struggles that some writers have, and this is where I think the film gets into trouble and why it has such a low rating on IMDB. It’s a film about writers for writers. I’m a writer myself, but I don’t think anyone that isn’t a writer will get anything out of this.

It captures the frustration of what a slog it can be to write, only to find that someone else magically happens to get a book deal, and it shows how talent is actually only a small part of success, and that it owes a lot to timing and coincidence as well. It’s a light-hearted look at being a writer, and it could have gone into more depth about the craft, but at least it shows that being an alcoholic isn’t necessary to call yourself a writer.

So Authors Anonymous is kind of a hard one to recommend. If you’re a writer I think you’ll find some value in it but otherwise it’s probably best to avoid.

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