Even though the indie drama “The Kitchen” (2012, Monterey, unrated, $27) is set entirely within the walls of the titular room, it never feels claustrophobic or stagy. That’s a tribute to Orefield, Pa.-reared director Ishai Setton and to the actors (Matt Bush, Tate Ellington, Catherine Reitman) who season the material with authenticity and soul.
The action unfolds during a birthday party in honor or Jennifer (“That 70s Show” star Laura Prepon), an art-gallery worker who’s having a really rotten 30th birthday. She’s just lost her job, and her boyfriend (Bryan Greenberg) has revealed he’s been cheating on her with one of her friends.
While all of the actors are likable, it is Dreama Walker (as Jennifer’s sister Penny) who comes close to stealing the show. The actress is perhaps best known for her turn opposite Shickshinny’s Krysten Ritter in the recently cancelled ABC sitcom “Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23.”
“The Kitchen” marks the third feature film Setton has sold to a major distributor. His first — and best — film, “The Big Bad Swim” with Paget Brewster, landed at Echo Bridge back in 2006, and “3 Days of Normal” starring “Episodes” regular Mircea Monroe found a home at FilmBuff and is scheduled to be available via VOD this summer.
More than 20 characters come and go over the course of the 80-minute movie, which is jam-packed with betrayals, hook-ups and a naked photographer or two. “The Kitchen” loses a bit of momentum as it goes along but, in the end, it’s a funny, touching little film that springs plenty of surprises before the end credits roll.