When we first check in on career criminal John Taylor, as played actor Clayne Crawford who seemed to be channeling the ghost of Ray Liotta… not that Ray’s dead or anything… He has just robbed a bank of 300 large, his foot is a f’d up, he’s just gotten robbed by some loon in a convenience store and as he looks up at the TV screen, somehow the police know that it’s him that robbed this bank. They should not know this. What John needs to do is hole up for a while, figure some things out, find a way out of this mess he’s gotten himself into. Fortunately for John he has knocked on the door of possibly the nicest man in all of Los Angeles, Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce), who is prepping for a dinner party. Feigning to be a friend of a friend of Warwick’s, John gains entry and considering that Warwick is about 5’6", might weigh 140 and is admittedly a little swishy… handling this guy shouldn’t be a problem. But there is the small problem of Warwick’s insanity. I mean he’s really crazy. We’re talking complete batshit crazy. Like Kathy Bates in ‘Misery’ crazy. The name of the movie is ‘The Perfect Host’ and John has been invited to dinner.
John isn’t the most polite guest to be honest with you. After his ruse was up, he cursed at poor Warwick, he kicked Warwick in the face, he bled on Warwick’s hardwood floors and he called his dinner guests… who haven’t arrived yet… ‘homos’. What’s up with that? Just don’t drink the wine John… oh no… he drank the wine.
When John awakens he finds himself bound and sitting at the dinner table along with Warwick’s dinner guests. True enough, John doesn’t see anybody but Warwick, at least from his point of view, has a house full of close and personal friends. Clearly Warwick is a whackjob, as John can plainly see and he let’s Warwick know that he knows he’s a whackjob. Not a good idea. Crazy people kind of know they’re crazy, but they don’t like to be reminded of it. I’m married to a crazy person so I know these things. So after a couple of punches to the face and a few knives to the throat, John realizes it’s probably best to just play along and hope for the best.
Interspersed between Warwick’s party, which is now overflowing with guest and completely off the chain, we visit a couple of cops who are investigating John and his
bank robbery and John himself is flashing back to the events that caused him to rob the bank in the first place. Without getting into it too much, he’s trying to help his beloved (Megahn Perry) out of a tight spot.
Regardless, there’s Congo lines to dance in, drugged martinis to drink, a pool party to limbo in, we can’t forget the dance number or the disturbing image of Warwick banging one his imaginary guests in the bathroom… and after John saw Warwick’s little scrapbook, it’s time to start begging for one’s life. But only if it were that simple, because things are about to get a little twisty.
Everybody on the planet Earth should stop what they are doing, run out and buy, rent, steal or borrow a copy of ‘The Perfect Host’. Not because writer / director Nick Tomnay’s movie is the best movie ever made, it certainly has its fair share of flaws and issues as a work of cinema, but the reason you need to run out and see this movie is simply to witness the brilliantly bizarre… amazing… strange… weird performance put forth by one David Hyde Pierce. I imagine as an actor, having a television character such as Niles Crane so closely associated with you can be a double edged sword. On one hand Niles Crane is the reason David Hyde Pierce will be in Gucci and penthouses for the rest of his days, but on the flip side, to most people David Hyde Pierce and Niles Crane are one and the same. Thus we’d be a bit disingenuous if we didn’t point out that the mere existence of Niles Crane made Warwick Wilson so much fun to watch. And it’s not just David Hyde Pierce’s crazy shtick as Warwick Wilson, because there were times when Warwick had to be sane, and watching Warwick act normal, knowing how damn crazy he really is, was almost as much fun as watching the man jump on a table with his imaginary friends while dancing a choreographed number to ‘Car Wash’.
Tomnay’s script is amazingly clever on many levels, the dialog, some of the plot devices, and particularly how he integrates Warwick’s imaginary friends into his life and how they help Warwick get along and actually help the man keep his crazy in check. But it also lets the movie down a little bit if for no other reason that it relies a lot on some rather incredible coincidences to further the story along. Incredible coincidences. Man, you could probably hit the powerball two times before the things that had to happen in this movie, the way it ended up playing out, could actually occur in the way that they did.
But believe me when I tell you, this is not a deal breaker. Warwick Wilson is so freaking crazy they should probably give him his own variety show. But since that’s probably not going to happen, we still have him in ‘The Perfect Host’. Enjoy.