Reviewed by: Brian Nigro
Starring: Parker Posey, Genevieve Bujold, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling / Director: Mark Waters
“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.”
—The First Commandment
In an age of celebrity worship, “The House of Yes” is a stark reminder of how idolatry can sink people deeper and deeper. Parker Posey headlines as an odd young woman truly obsessed with Jackie Kennedy Onassis—and she even has the hair and wardrobe to prove it. Her mother (Genevieve Bujold) and younger brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) tried institutionalizing her, but now they seem amused by her obsession and trust medication to make her better.
“The House of Yes” is a pitch-black, deeply cynical treatment of family secrets. Based on a play, the story unfolds on a Thanksgiving weekend twenty years after the JFK assassination. Jackie’s twin brother Marty (Josh Hamilton) arrives with his fiancee Leslie (Tori Spelling). The family—Mother, Jackie, and her two brothers—seems a bit strange, and director Mark Waters really pushes this material to camp value.
Parker Posey’s performance elicits viewer sympathy—clearly, she’s mentally ill. That’s what Oscar nominations are made of. But, Posey overacts this part: She goes from odd to eccentric to psychotic to, finally, the kooky older sister nobody talks about. Not to mention the rest of her family is also odd, which makes her degree of insanity relative to theirs. Her “family secret,” which most astute viewers should be able to guess by the first few scenes, seems sad rather than shocking.
“The House of Yes” is a creepy, creepy movie that can really get under your skin. Strictly by content, this is rated “R” for fluent sexual innuendo, an instance of premarital sex, and minor profanity. Taking into account the subject matter (i.e., insinuations about the Kennedy’s personal lives), it seems all the more abrasive. Let Jackie Kennedy Onassis rest in peace.