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The House of Yes

The House of Yes

Thanksgiving, the bane of dysfunctional families, is the focus of The House of Yes, film debut of director Mark Waters (no relation to John Waters), who adapted it from Wendy MacLeod’s play.

The first and only love for Jackie-O (Parker Posey) is the one she can never shake: her twin brother Marty (Josh Hamilton). In the gothic funhouse of Yes, Jackie-O – poised, whip-smart, obsessive, nuts – eagerly awaits Marty’s return to the family’s Washington D.C. mansion on the twentieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Unfortunately, Marty is bringing home his milquetoast fiancée, Lesly (a distractingly tan Tori Spelling).

As hurricane winds blow outside, their mother (Genevieve Bujold) and younger brother (Freddie Prinze Jr.) begin to manipulate Lesly in an attempt to restore their family’s topsy-turvy status quo. The House of Yes is arch, candy-colored deviancy which Waters delivers like a jaded Tennessee Williams. It also demonstrates the downside of adapting a play: the film is stagy and stilted, and the not-so-surprising denouement is telescoped early on.

“I look at you people and I wonder how you ever fit into my world,” says Bujold’s befuddled mother hen, expressing the thought on more than a few minds during the forced togetherness of the great American family holiday.

Review by Serena Donadoni
Released on October 10, 1997 by Miramax
First published in the Metro Times.

The House of Yes is available on Netflix