‘The Dinner Party’ movie review: Fun, unpredictable chaos ensues over dinner

Something I’ve been told lately by professionals in the media industry is to be “unpredictable.”

This is one of the highlights of ‘The Dinner Party,’ directed by Jenna Ushkowitz and written by Penelope Lawson.

The film is centered around a dinner table, just like your usual family gathering. Except your family is crazy. Not just one of your family members, but all of them.

The film follows Serena (Kate Easton) and Steve (Eric Nelsen), a somewhat new couple. Steve is introducing Serena to his family for the very first time. Serena has no idea what she’s getting herself into, and she probably wishes she would have dated another guy named Steve. But alas, she finds herself wrapped up in this party.

Each person is weirder than the next. The only “normal” ones are Serena and Malcolm (played by Carl McDowell).


Right now, the film has begun hitting the festival circuit. It’s played at the Mammoth Film Festival and Berlin Short Film Festival this month. The hope is to have it stream in some capacity, Producer Brock Kingsland tells me.

My ties to Peoria, Illinois is how I heard of this roughly 13-minute film. Kingsland is from the River City.

For being a short film, I felt like The Dinner Party did a good job being comedic. Really nailing comedy is a tough thing to do, but I think the crew made the film very funny.

Like I said, the unpredictable aspect of the film is what kept me laughing. You feel so uncomfortable watching things progress, but you also just have to sit back and laugh. Because maybe these family members aren’t yours, but it does take you back to those “crazy” moments you’ve had at a dinner party. The cast is also splendid.

I recognized McDowell from Ballers (HBO). Star Trek fans will be pleased to see Nana Visitor as Steve’s mother in the film.

Good luck to the cast and crew as this film continues on the film festival trip. And who knows, maybe we’ll see the story get expanded in the near future. Stay tuned!


Published by mattsheehanofficial

Matt Sheehan is a journalist based in Illinois. He grew up in St. Louis and went to college at Missouri State University. He's the host of On the Record, and secures exclusive interviews with celebrities for his TV morning show.

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