Navel-Gazing in la la Land ; the Cast in Director John August's Deliberately Confusing Film Change Roles and Swap Plots in a Movie That Is Funny Ha-Ha as Well as Funny Peculiar

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The Nines Cert 15, 99 mins

****

THIS freaky, astutely riddlesome LA drama has been compared to David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

Its deliberately obtuse plot and meta-fictional bent also owes something to David Cronenberg's eXistenZ, Spike Jonze's Adaptation and that most sublime of nightmares, TV's The Larry Sanders Show. Whatever else, director-writer John August has great taste if he steals, he steals from the best.

The story starts on a hot summer day, with a cute, successful TV actor Gary (Ryan Reynolds) accidentally burning his house down. After taking crack with a whore, he discovers his bellybutton is missing. Does this mean he is God? Or that is he going ga-ga? He gets placed under house arrest by his giggly, peculiar new PR (Melissa McCarthy), has a fling with a neighbour (Hope Davis), sees the number nine everywhere and gets freaked out by a deaf girl in a bus shelter.

Then it's all change, as we meet Gavin, a feted, gay TV writer (Reynolds again), about to make a pilot for a drama series called Knowing, which features a deaf girl and an actress (McCarthy again) who's not at all to the liking of one of the network chiefs (Davis again). A reality TV show is following the pilot's progress.

It's Gavin, however, who's in for a reality check.

A third segment sees the central actors switch roles again, as we enter The Nines Cert 1. …