Addicted to Fresno: Only Slightly Addictive

Addicted to Fresno is an attempt at a Thelma and Louise-esque comedy.

Director: Jamie Babbit

Writer: Karey Dornetto

Starring: Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne, Malcom Barrett, Molly Shannon

This black-comedy centres around two sisters, Martha (Natasha Lyonne) a lesbian and Shannon (Judy Greer) a sex addict, who work as maids in a hotel is Fresno.

When Shannon accidentally murders one of their guests, the two sisters embark on a ‘get rid of the body’ journey which sees them robbing a sex shop, selling sex toys to lesbians and stealing money from a bar mitzvah.

Addicted to Fresno begins with a voice over narration alongside scenes of a prison which then cuts to two years earlier allowing the audience to understand that it is someone reminiscing about an incident that happened.

Like other films, Addicted to Fresno uses the credit sequence as a way to set the scene for the rest of the film by using a montage of images showing the area and cleaners working.

Initially the narrative is quite slow and without watching the trailer first, it is unclear as to what the story is and what will happen next.

Comedy is difficult to produce and writer Karey Dornetto focuses her humour on the themes of sex and uses a lot of, what can only be described as, non-PC.

As the film does centre on someone with a sex addiction it makes sense that the humour is based around this as well and the over-the-top acting reinforces the attempt at comedy.

Some of the scenes were slightly ridiculous especially when the sisters sell the sex toys to a group of lesbians.

However, director Jamie Babbit knew how to make this scene more visually appealing through the use of montage of photographs.

As the film progresses, it does pose the question of ‘what is the narrative?’ It seems to jump from a story about Shannon trying to get her life sorted and then moves to a ‘get rid of a body’ murder film and it was difficult to guess where the story was going.

It is very much a film focused on the idea of cause and effect. In any film, events happen that seem to be to perfect and Addicted to Fresno does not fail to use this traditional method.

The sisters need to get rid of a body and it just so happens they know someone who works at a pet cemetery. Cause and effect does work in filming but sometimes it seems too predictable. Maybe this was added to increase the comedy side? It is difficult to say.

Judy Greer’s performance as the sex addict Shannon is one to give applauds to but it seems that without her addiction the film would have no humour or elements to it.

The sex addiction side of her is the main catalyst for the story and the film does keep reinforcing this and it gets slightly dull towards the end.

Martha, played by Natasha Lyonne, is the perfect actor to play the career-driven, focused of the two sisters and whilst watching, it seems as though the role came naturally to her.

Together, the two actors work extremely well together and their acting brings to life the two sisters and their different lives.

Although the acting was good, there did seem to be some instances where the script was most improvised than actually scripted.

Nevertheless, the humour, although sometimes limited, does keep surfacing throughout the film.

As well, the continuous juxta-positioning of the two sisters reinforce their outlooks of life and their own desires and goals and it is a nice touch for the low-budgeted film to incorporate.

A good film is all about detail and Addicted to Fresno uses the notice board of the hotel to add to the comedy elements.

I would suggest keeping an eye out for the notice board which changes in each scene that it is featured in. Small elements like this all add to a good film.

Call me slightly sadistic but one of the funniest scenes that made me laugh out loud is during the bar mitzvah scene.

They decide to crash the ceremony and steal the money given to the young boy. In order to do so they need a distraction which turns out to be Martha faking a seizure.

Although this sounds quite insensitive, it is one of the few scenes that I thoroughly enjoyed watching and had to wipe away a few tears.

The independent, low budget film was shot in Fresno, California, due to budget restrictions that did not allow it be shot in the original location in Cleveland.

Independent films are not for everyone and I would be lying if I said that there was fancy Hollywood camera work and it was full of CGI but it didn’t need it.

The film is not Hollywood’s next big film and it knows it. It is merely a film about two completely different people who bond over an accidental murder.

Addicted to Fresno has its flaws but nevertheless, the eye for detail and the few hilariously funny moments do create an adult-focused comedy.


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