It’s pretty remarkable how so many good actors can be in such a sub-par unfunny situation comedy. It’s also pretty surprising how a movie centered around sex and orgies really ends about as blandly and vanilla as pound cake. “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” is yet another of those slice of life dramas, where a city bound thirty something protagonist goes back to their old town to re-visit the ghosts of their past and discover something about themselves. We saw it in “Garden State,” “Beautiful Girls,” “Junebug,” and about a hundred other dramas since the early nineties.
The crux of “American Mary” depends on the performance by Katharine Isabelle. While the film itself is a unique and very entertaining tale about revenge, madness, and masochism, the lead performance of Mary is most important. Almost any other actor probably would have played the character of Mary Mason completely over the top, but Katharine Isabelle’s turn as a slowly unraveling sadist with revenge on her mind is incredible. Even brilliant.