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‘Fire Island’: Robin’s movie review

A movie poster for “Fire Island” shows a group of men smiling and laughing while dressed as if they’re on their way to the beach. Large letters on the poster spell out the movie’s name.
Searchlight Pictures

For Movie Minutes, Robin Holabird takes a look at a new version of Pride and Prejudice.

To play off Jane Austen’s famous opening line for Pride and Prejudice, “it is a truth universally acknowledged” that a good story can bear retelling in many fashions. Cinematically, Pride and Prejudice comes in several straightforward versions, plus one with a Bollywood twist and another that includes zombies. Fire Island puts a different dimension on the Pride and Prejudice story, streaming on Hulu. The timeless rom-com pursuits Jane wrote about transfer easily to a family of choice group gathering on New York’s Fire Island for a two-week celebration that includes events like an underwear party.

Played by the project’s screenwriter Joel Kim Booster, Noah, the narrator, quickly discounts — as quote “hetero nonsense” — Jane’s opening line about every single man looking for a wife. But as Noah discovers, some men want a monogamous relationship. And, encompassing other timeless elements from Jane, Noah sees class and status issues that cross centuries into almost any society.

While no one needs to wear empire dresses in Noah’s updated world, he joins Jane in realizing the value of a good dance scene. Well, throw in some karaoke, too, with highlights coming from Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang as Noah’s best friend.

Well cast throughout, Fire Island also provides a chance for comedian Margaret Cho to shine. Screenwriter Booster maintains a light, insightful touch, enhanced by brisk direction from Andrew Ahn. Thoroughly R-rated, the movie features sex and language that would never pass muster in a Masterpiece Theater world. The tone and content remain fun, but yes, Jane Austen might roll in her grave about it. But then, she probably wouldn’t get zombies either.

This review aired on KUNR FM on Friday, June 10.

Robin Holabird is KUNR’s entertainment reviewer, author, and former film commissioner for the Nevada Film Office. You can browse a full archive of her reviews here.

Robin Holabird reviews movies for KUNR, and her reviews have aired for more than 30 years. During that time, she has had a high profile in the Nevada film community.
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