The Beta Test Review

by Joe Joe

The Beta Test

Cummings is the highlight.

The Beta Test

Cummings is the highlight.

Hollywood. We get a lot of movies that celebrate the various ages of it. Most of the time, it’s looked like a place of wealth and opportunity, but there is a very dark side to it. The Beta Test is one of those movies like Swimming With Sharks where it can show the devious, almost hellish side of Hollywood.

Harvey Weinstein is a thankfully dead dynasty because his tiny weeny had to touch everything that didn’t want to be touched. No means no. A part of this movie deals with a post-Harvey world in Hollywood that mentions things like the writer’s guild and cleverly uses the Sony hacks. It’s a backdrop to an entertaining but uneven movie from the crazy perfect Jim Cummings, who co-wrote and co-directed it, with PJ McCabe, who also co-stars.

Cummings plays Jordan, a Hollywood agent who is soon married to his wife Caroline, played by Virginia Newcomb. He receives an anonymous purple invitation for a random sexual encounter that he eventually participates in. Before Jordan does this, the movie is quite chaotic, and afterward, it gets even more chaotic. Other people have received these invitations, and when their significant other finds out, it ends in death. There’s more to it, of course, but it’s best not to spoil a movie like this.

This film is an excellent commentary on how the movie world is dealing with the me too movement and how it seems that agents are becoming less and less critical, at least in the grand scheme of things like money and fame. China is also mentioned since it appears to be heavily invested in American entertainment culture these days. I’m not sure how accurate this movie wants to be, but it certainly feels pretty fresh. Everything technically about it is fine, and every other actor does their part, but it does feel a little off at times and doesn’t quite pop when it should. At least it’s not boring at all and is a breezy ninety minutes.

Okay, I got to talk about Jim Cummings. You may recognize him from the absurd, yet fun Halloween Kills in a small important role. I saw The Wolf of Snow Hollow, which was his second movie, and I loved it. His performance was a mixture of all kinds of emotions with no weakness amongst any of them. Then I saw his first and best movie, Thunder Road, where he was joyously screaming fearlessness with his acting.

He always brings a fantastic show with himself, and this movie is no different. Cummings is the highlight. In all of his films, he brings the perfect mix of hilarity and drama. Awkward humor is something he excels at. The Beta Test falls short of his other movies because I felt that this movie’s quality didn’t match his performance. Thunder Road and The Wolf of Snow Hollow were written and filmed to be just as good as the lead actor, but not this one.

Would I watch it again? Yeah, because it’s got a fantastic lead performance and an excellent supporting cast. It’s pretty hilarious in a dark and twisted way. It fits right there with Swimming With Sharks, Eyes Wide Shut, maybe a pinch of American Psycho. If anybody out there loves Jim Cummings as much as I do, you won’t be majorly disappointed. It’s not as good as his previous efforts, but it’s still pretty damned entertaining.

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7
OK

Good

  • JIM CUMMINGS
  • COMEDY

Bad

  • NOT AS GOOD AS PREVIOUS FILMS
  • OVERALL QUALITY DOESN'T MATCH PERFORMANCES
beta test
7
OK

Good

  • JIM CUMMINGS
  • COMEDY

Bad

  • NOT AS GOOD AS PREVIOUS FILMS
  • OVERALL QUALITY DOESN'T MATCH PERFORMANCES
beta test
7
OK

Good

  • JIM CUMMINGS
  • COMEDY

Bad

  • NOT AS GOOD AS PREVIOUS FILMS
  • OVERALL QUALITY DOESN'T MATCH PERFORMANCES