Movie Review: “Opening Night”

When I first heard the synopsis of Opening Night, I was already on board. I mean, anything with Taye Diggs, Topher Grace and JC Chasez (yup from NSYNC) is bound to be a wild ride.

As a huge fan of all things musical, I went into Opening Night expecting some huge dramatic production, like Les Mis, but funny. Instead, I got something different that was even better than that. I got a very meta, almost fourth wall breaking “anti-musical” film. Which was jam packed with one hit wonders you can’t help but sing along to.

Within the first few minutes, Nick (Topher Grace’s character) makes a comment stating, “it’s cheesy when people break out into song” and then a few seconds later him, Taye Diggs and Alona Tal’s characters are talking about pegging Nick. That’s how I knew I was sold. Opening Night does a good job of transitioning the audience into the “musical world” and by the end, if you’re not someone who’s usually into musicals, you’ve forgotten that you’re watching a musical at all.

When I spoke with Alona Tal on the red carpet at the premiere for Opening Night, she said “it’s not your typical musical. It’s a little meta, very funny, and there was that trend of like Pitch Perfect movies, and I love Pitch Perfect, but this has a different feel with a wider demographic. It’s raunchier and I think that’s what people are going to love.”

I think that she described Opening Night perfectly. It follows stage manager Nick who is just trying to keep his show together for its opening night. When I spoke to Grace about the film he said that they aimed to make the show that the characters in the movie were playing in awful. It’s supposed to be one of those shows that closes after its opening night. With that knowledge, everything becomes funnier. Watching these characters scramble to pull themselves together while they shouldn’t be taking themselves seriously is hilarious and ironic.

JC Chasez, Andrew Rogers, Topher Grace,Alona Tal, Lesli Margherita, Paul Scheer, Rob Riggle at LAFF

Someone that really took me by surprise in this film was JC Chasez, who plays an overly dramatized version of himself. I’m always a sucker for NSYNC puns, but I’m pretty sure I would love his character, no matter what, no strings attached (I had to say it).

As I stood next to him on the red carpet watching him take pictures with a group of fans, it became clear that he’s far from the version of himself that he’s playing. His costar Alona Tal recounts, “JC kind of took all of us by surprise. He was actually one of the sweetest ones on set. He’s really awesome to work with.”

JC Chasez and Topher Grace at LAFF
JC Chasez and Topher Grace at LAFF

Co-stars Lesli Margherita and Taye Diggs had already known one another prior to filming. “I knew Taye from the Broadway community, but to be able to do this with him in a film was a lot of fun,” Lesli told me on the carpet. It definitely showed, their onscreen chemistry was undeniable. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is the two of them battling for the heart (dick) of a newcomer.

Everyone knows that the best drama happens backstage in theater and Opening Night gives us a funny, raw perspective of that, which makes for an extremely entertating movie. Plus, who doesn’t love one hit wonders?


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