The life of a writer is not an easy one, as those who have tried their hand at it and even the most prestigious of professionals (i.e. Stephen King’s On Writing) will tell you. The career choice can come with an incredible amount of rejection, creative struggles and failure, but when something proves successful the benefits are obviously very rewarding. Some movies have attempted to capture this concept for dramatic purposes, but the recent DVD release from Anchor Bay Entertainment (available as of June 17, 2014), Authors Anonymous puts a comedic spin on the subject.
Anonymous is the story of six aspiring writers who form a group that regularly meets to critique their work and support their efforts to get published. What was once a fun environment of creativity and socializing soon changes when one member named Hannah (The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco) gets her work legitimately published and major success (like a movie deal) follows, causing the others to struggle to find ways to get their work noticed on the heels of her good fortune.
Upon watching Authors Anonymous, a viewer will notice a very familiar comedy format serving as the narrative. Much like television’s The Office, the group are being followed, interviewed and filmed by a documentary crew recording their career paths. Although this perspective is not entirely an original approach, it does work in this particular world just as it did for a work office environment.
Also giving the film good substance is its eagerness to not leave any stoned unturned in the writing profession; for example Henry (American Pie’s Chris Klein) is perhaps the most gifted writer of the group but he suffers from major ‘writer’s block’. William (Mean Girls’ Jonathan Bennett) spends more time focused on dialogue over plot, Alan (Nip/Tuck’s Dylan Walsh) loves to come up with ideas but has trouble putting them to the page and his wife Colette (played by scene-stealing Teri Polo from Meet The Parents) is a self-absorbed, terrible writer who can’t get over her jealousy to another’s success.
The late Dennis Farina (Manhunter) also plays John K. Butzin, an egomaniac who naively explores fruitless avenues to get his work published (i.e. ebooks online) and constantly talks in the third person. Farina and Polo’s characters practically run away with the film, well over the seemingly typical romance angle set up between Hannah and Henry that has a fairly respectable and realistic resolution by the end of the movie.
Anonymous is presented on DVD in a standard definition anamorphic widescreen presentation with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The viewing quality is fairly good, but the digital transfer still maintains some heavy black levels and dark grain.. The movie comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that never really gets an opportunity to play, but the dialogue-filled feature is consistently clear.
The disc also comes with a few welcome bonus features; including an enlightening director’s commentary, some alternate takes of scenes and a behind-the-scenes featurette that interviews Kanner and all the cast members about the film and their respective characters.
Authors Anonymous is an amusing comedy movie that accurately displays the highs and lows of an aspiring writer’s career path. The movie some memorable characters and clever dialogue that keeps it entertaining and enlightening if you yourself are struggling to break into the industry. The DVD would make for an excellent rental and also gives a fair amount of content to warrant a purchase if one really enjoys the movie.