Film News

Amy Poehler's "Spring Breakdown" lightens Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - U.S. comedian Amy Poehler’s film “Spring Breakdown” lightens the economic gloom shadowing the Sundance Film Festival, premiering despite itself having been rocked by the financial crisis.

Actresses (L-R) Rachel Dratch, Parker Posey, and Amy Poehler, who co-star in the film "Spring Breakdown", pose for a portrait at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 16, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The comedy about three 30-something women who go on spring break -- the wild annual vacation taken by U.S. college students -- was made in 2006 but languished after its studio home shut down last year.

“We came here just to toss it out there,” Rachel Dratch, who co-wrote the film and stars alongside her former “Saturday Night Live” TV show colleague Poehler, told Reuters on Saturday.

“It was at (studio) Warner Independent for a while and then they closed and it’s kind of been tossed around a bit. So this was a fun way of seeing it in front of a crowd and just getting it out there and having a celebratory moment with it,” she said.

In 2008 the industry fell on hard times and Warner Bros film studio cut production and streamlined its operations by eliminating units like Warner Independent and absorbing New Line Cinema as the U.S. economy slipped into recession.

“Spring Breakdown,” which opened on Friday, cost between $10 million and $12 million to make and will likely appeal to women and gays, Poehler and Dratch said.

“It’s a Sundance sorbet in between all the war and oppression,” said Dratch, 42, referring to serious movies at Sundance, the top U.S. independent film festival started 25 years ago by actor Robert Redford.

“It’s not typical Sundance fare,” said Poehler, who left NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” last year after giving birth to her son with husband actor Will Arnett.

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Dratch said she wrote the film with director Ryan Shiraki with the goal of creating a “broad goofy comedy that stars women.”

Poehler, 37, was working with Dratch on “Saturday Night Live” when she was asked to be a part of the movie, which also stars Parker Posey. She said she jumped at the chance to work with her colleague.

Early reviews were mixed. Fox News’ Roger Friedman called it “raunchy, raucous, irreverent fun.” But the Cinema Strikes Back blog,, said it was “startlingly unfunny” and a “bottom-scraping dud.”

Last year Poehler starred in the movie “Baby Mama” with former “Saturday Night Live” partner Tina Fey. Next month she begins filming a new NBC comedy series from two of the producers behind the popular workplace satire “The Office.”

“I feel really excited about trying something new. Getting to be a little smaller and showing that side of what I can do, I’m excited about that,” Poehler said.

The as-yet untitled TV series, set in a small-town parks and recreation office, will debut April 9.

But Poehler, who impersonated Hillary Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, says she misses working on the show and would return as a guest if asked.

“I think probably not anytime soon. People might be a little tired of me saying I’m leaving and coming back,” she said. “I do not want to be the (rapper) Jay-Z of SNL -- saying I’m retiring then return.”

And she doesn’t appear daunted about returning to work with her 3-month-old son, Archie.

“A lot of women have to figure out how to juggle that,” Poehler said. “I’m lucky enough to be able to have help in doing that. It’s been great.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Xavier Briand