Anniversary Party

Rated 3.0 Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming are the stars of a self-spoofing Hollywood comedy-satire that they also wrote and directed. They play the couple whose anniversary is being celebrated, and the long day’s night of the party goes from charades to sentimental testimonials to drugs (Ecstasy) to a lost dog and multiple intimations of premature death. A big, lively cast (Jane Adams, Jennifer Beals, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. Reilley, Parker Posey, and Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates and their two young children) neatly navigates an anecdotal minefield of petty animosities, rampant neuroses, and convoluted self-delusion, while the production itself wobbles back and forth between SoCal comedy of manners and moments of unfocused (and perhaps unintentional) grotesquerie. The small jibes work better than the bigger bits of drama, in part because neither Cumming nor Leigh is as interesting here as their writing and directing seem to presume.