Dinner in America came along at the wrong time in history to only gross just over $20,000 at the box office. It’s a shame too because the movie is “tits,” and you’re about to find out why that’s funny.
Dinner in America was released in 2020 when we had our minds on other things, but it begins with a guy and girl at a cafeteria table being fed and looked over by what appear to be nurses. My first thoughts were that they were in a hospital for the mentally ill. But we soon find out that our lead character was in a clinical test, and the drugs they were giving him didn’t agree with his system, so he was booted from the program and paid less than he expected.
That’s what takes us on a short journey when the girl is also booted from the test, and she offers to take him to her house for dinner and oral sex. At this awkward dinner where Lea Thompson and Nick Chinlund have cameos, things go a little sideways. Not to spoil the movie for you, but the mother comes onto our lead character, her daughter walks in on them, and then he has to fight his way out of the house, and I’m leaving a lot of the details out on purpose because you will enjoy the entire scene and I don’t want to ruin it for you.
It’s time for me to introduce to you Simon who is played by Kyle Gallner, an actor you might recall from Smile and Scream. He’s our main character and there is something about him but I’ll get to that in a minute. This is a character who is bat-shit crazy and at first, I thought Dinner in America was just going for bizarre and unexpected. He cashes his check, buys drugs, and runs from cops for a reason we have yet to find out. But that leads him to bump into Patty, an awkward girl who gets picked on by two guys in matching uniforms and has a particularly boring home life. But there is something about her as well.
She’s into a band called PSYOPS, and they have a gig coming up that she wants to see. When she asks her parents if she can go to the show, they talk themselves around in circles about strobe lights and then deny her innocent request. Here’s the thing, Patty is played by Emily Skeggs, an actual singer who has also starred in such movies as When We Rise and Don’t Think Twice as well as the Broadway musical Fun Home where she played one of the Alison’s and was nominated for a Tony.
This movie does take unexpected turns, and it does bring on the bizarre but in the most welcome way as these two get into some things that make the movie so interesting to watch. They exact revenge on our two bullies I mentioned earlier, but in such a hilarious way. He fights for her, and she learns how to come out of her awkward shell to fight for him, and in all this mix they catch real feelings for each other.
The kicker is that Simon is the lead singer of PSYOPS, but she doesn’t know that until he tells her because he wears a mask on stage. No one knows his actual identity. She’s been sending him lyrics to songs that she writes along with Polaroid photos she takes of herself and he doesn’t realize his biggest fan is her until she asks him to take her to the show, a show he knows nothing about because he was in a clinical test when the other band members set up the gig.
There is heart in this movie and it takes a moment for that point to set in because you’ll be enjoying watching these scenes unfold and it sneaks up on you. There is more going on here than just two people who don’t fit in finding their way together. Nothing sums this up more than a beautiful scene where he digs through those letters and finds one of the songs she wrote for him. In his bedroom at his family’s house where he really isn’t welcome, he has a recording studio where he lays down the drum tracks, follows that with the base, and then adds a guitar riff.
Then, he asks her to sing her song. It’s a moment and I have to tell you it hits deep.
Simon: That was tits.
Patty: Is tits good?
Simon: Yeah. Tits is good.
If you’d like to enjoy this movie, it’s on Hulu. But take a second and watch this scene first. I love this part.