Jill-Michele Meleán (MadTV, Reno 911) is the heart and soul behind This is Meg, a transparent look into the L.A. lifestyle of a "working but not famous" comedienne and actress having difficulty adjusting to Hollywood's changing rule book where fly-by-night social media stars achieve fame and fortune while talented actors struggle to survivor.
Written by Meleán and directed by veteran indie director Alex Ferrari, This is Meg is a frequently laugh out loud comedy that offers insights and, dare I say it, enlightenment as Meleán's Meg faces the truth that she's not married, doesn't have kids, isn't where she wants to be professionally, and isn't sure she's on the right path. Through a series of encounters, which feel hilariously authentic even as they become increasingly outlandish, Meleán digs for something more meaningful and begins to finally embrace an everyday simplicity and the fact that her life is going to serve up the good with the bad with the good.
While This is Meg may resonate most completely with those who understand the Hollywood vibe, Meleán has crafted a story that feels both personal and universal and, in finding the humor, should have no problem making a diverse audience laugh.
This is Meg is filled to the brim with familiar faces including the scene-stealing Joseph Reitman (Clueless, Lady in the Water), the always delightful Krista Allen (Hawaii Five-O, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), the spot-on Jenica Bergere (The Drew Carey Show), gifted actor and voice talent Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911, Inside Out), former pre-school teacher turned comic actress Debra Wilson (The Uptown Comedy Club, MadTV, Let It Be Me) and a number of others whom you'll find yourself watching thinking "Hey, I know that face!"
Indeed, you do.
The scenes between Reitman and Meleán are among the film's true highlights. The two have a natural chemistry that plays incredibly well and really pulls the humor out of every line, though one can definitely tell that Ferrari has gone after gifted comedy and improv folks who are able to balance the film's inherent silliness and occasional moments of genuine poignancy. Meleán, as well, has moments when you think "I'd really like to see her in something dramatic" as she adds just the right amount of gravitas to those feelings underneath that humor.
Ferrari also lenses the film and does so quite nicely, though one scene, in particular, did linger just a tad too long without a comedy payoff that would have made it worth our while.
Cris Velasco's original music companioned the film quite nicely, while kudos must be given for the entire production crew for accomplishing solid production values within the constraints of a modestly budgeted film.
While there will likely be those who don't quite get its humor, This is Meg is an entertaining, funny and insightful indie that has such a tremendous spirit about it that fans of indie comedy will definitely want to give it a few. For more information on the film, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic