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The Beta Test Movie Review

The Beta Test Movie Review
Jim Cummings, a jack-of-all-trades indie filmmaker, has taken his career into his own hands by picking up a camera and making the movies he wants to make. His latest, "The Beta Test," is an entertaining skewering of the film industry and the poisonous creatures that someone trying to break into the business may meet along the way.

Cummings (who co-wrote and -directed with PJ McCabe, who co-stars as his agency partner) plays Jordan, a fast-talking, slippery and slimy agent who carries himself as the most important in Los Angeles. Jordan is juggling a lot, between planning a wedding with his fiancé Caroline (Virginia Newcomb) and trying to land a new client at his agency. One day a mysterious purple envelope appears in Jordan's mailbox, with no trace of where it may have come from. The card in the envelope invites Jordan to an "anonymous no-strings attached sexual encounter with an admirer" at a hotel room on a specified date and time. Jordan thinks it's ridiculous and discards the invitation, but ultimately, temptation and curiosity win out.

The biggest fallback about succumbing to temptation is the constant worry and guilt in its aftermath. Jordan becomes increasingly paranoid after meeting with the nameless and faceless woman (both parties wear a blindfold during the encounter) and desperate to find out who sent the invitation. He scurries the streets of L.A., following every non-lead he has, but in his head everyone is a suspect trying to set him up.

"The Beta Test" is about its commentary more than its plot, but Cummings and McCabe thread the needle between the two rather masterfully. "The Beta Test" never feels empty in its story, but also never feels preachy in its Hollywood takedown messaging. As someone who has built his own career, Cummings treats his latest movie like a warning shot to the audience: enter if you dare, but be ready to meet creeps like Jordan along the way.

Cummings fully embraces playing Jordan, who is certainly an amalgamation of many people Cummings' has met along the way. He's a fast-talking schmoozer, who has programmed himself to say the right thing when needed and when it will serve his ultimate interests and the company's bottom line. There aren't many moments of sincerity in Jordan, so when he begins to unravel trying to figure out where the invitation came from, the moments of panic make him feel like a human and not a corporatized agent. That's not to say the character is redeemable or likable in any way, but Cummings plays him with whip-smart comedic timing, and he's at least interesting to watch.

During a party, Jordan makes reference to HBO's Entourage, which glamorized the Hollywood lifestyle of its characters, but Jordan wants his prospective clients to know it's nothing like that. Entourage is an easy comparison for "The Beta Test," with a dash of the erotic mystery seen in "Eyes Wide Shut," but Cummings and McCabe have made a movie about where the entertainment industry stands today. The film industry could change by the end of this sentence, so it's remarkable they were able to create something that feels so relevant to the way the wind is blowing at this moment (streaming! No one watches indie movies!). "The Beta Test" is about unpleasant people and their unpleasant truths, but it's told with a ferocity that's hard to turn away from. Accept the invitation and see the movie.

The Beta Test Movie Review By Matthew Passantino

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Beta Test Movie Review The Beta Test Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Sunday, November 07, 2021 Rating: 5

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