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Melvin Goes to Dinner is a 2003 American film adaptation of Michael Blieden's stage play Phyro-Giants!, directed by Bob Odenkirk. Blieden wrote the screenplay from his stage play, and he also stars in the film (as he did in the Los Angeles stage production), along with Stephanie Courtney, Matt Price and Annabelle Gurwitch. The film premiered at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival.

Plot Former medical student Melvin has dropped out and now works (after a fashion) in a planning office of an unnamed city. The office supervisor is his big sister, who "mothers" him instead of making him perform well. Melvin accidentally makes telephone contact with an old friend, and they decide to meet for dinner that evening. The friend arrives early for drinks with a lady friend; by the appointed time, four people are involved, each connected somehow to at least one of the others. The evening passes in a leisurely dinner with much conversation, sometimes intimate; the connections among the parties are revealed throughout the evening. The movie includes several flashbacks, which are not immediately explained but become understandable by the end.

Cast

  • Michael Blieden as Melvin
  • Matt Price as Joey
  • Stephanie Courtney as Alex
  • Annabelle Gurwitch as Sarah
  • Kathleen Roll as the waitress
  • Jenna Fischer as the hostess
  • Melora Walters as Tranice (uncredited)
  • Bob Odenkirk as Keith
  • Maura Tierney as Leslie
  • Jacqueline Heinze as Rita
  • Laura Kightlinger as Laura
  • Fred Armisen as Vesa
  • Jerry Minor as Solly
  • Jack Black as a patient (uncredited)
  • Several notable people appeared as extras in the film, including Kristen Wiig, Bill Odenkirk, Daisy Gardner, Allan Havey, Nathan Odenkirk (son of Bob and Naomi Odenkirk), Scott Adsit, Wendy Rae Fowler, Tucker Smallwood, B. J. Porter, James Gunn, and Marc Evan Jackson.

Production

Michael Penn wrote the music for the film. The film won the Audience Award at the 2003 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and the Best Picture and Best Ensemble Awards at the Phoenix Film Festival.

The movie uses many actors who are mainliners in other television productions, such as Odenkirk's former Mr. Show co-star David Cross as a self-help seminar leader. However, the main characters are all played by the stage actors who performed in the Los Angeles stage production on which the screenplay is based.

Odenkirk also directed a short film that was included on the Melvin Goes to Dinner DVD release, The Frank International Film Festival. It portrayed the screening of Melvin Goes to Dinner at a (fictional) film festival organized by a cinephile named Frank (Fred Armisen) who hosts the festival at the home he shares with his mother.

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