The Last Supper

on April 05, 1996 by L.L.
   There's an intriguing premise to Stacy Title's wicked satire: what if a group of liberal intellectuals decided to rid the world of small-minded folks, among them bigots, fascists and anti-environmentalists?
   A coterie of Iowa grad students hosts a weekly dinner party, regularly inviting a new guest to debate their views. One week a stranger (Bill Paxton) appears and, mid-appetizer, starts spouting white supremacist dogma. When he turns violent, they kill him. As the African-American Ph.D. student (Courtney B. Vance) insists, the act was one of self-defense, physical as much as intellectual.
   At once appalled and propelled by their crime, the housemates decide to continue inviting--and killing--various offensive guests. Soon a makeshift graveyard grows in their backyard. The weekly guest roster includes a homophobic preacher (Charles Durning), a misogynist (Mark Harmon), and eventually a rabid Rush Limbaugh type (Ron Perlman).
   At first, the friends find their experiment reinvigorates their libidos and energizes their creative drives. But soon it has spun wildly out of control, like the tomato patch they've planted on the fresh earth outside.
   Dan Rosen's literate script poses some intelligent questions about the merits of political correctness. It's tautly helmed by first-time feature director Title and well-acted by the able cast, particularly Vance and Annabeth Gish. But the film runs into trouble by quickly exhausting its one idea and by taking too long to get to its inevitable conclusion.    Starring Cameron Diaz, Annabeth Gish, Ron Perlman and Courtney B. Vance. Directed by Stacy Title. Written by Dan Rosen. Produced by Matt Cooper, Larry Weinberg, Lori Miller and Dan Rosen. A Sony Classics release. Satire. Not yet rated. Running time: 94 min.
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