'My Hot Property' Review
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
According to literarydevices.net, setting is divided into two broad categories. First is Backdrop Setting, a setting that doesn’t impact the story in a significant way. The second is the Integral Setting, in which “the place and time influences the theme, character, and action of a story. This type of setting controls the characters.” My Hot Property (also listed as just Hot Property), directed by Max McGill is a film that wants to have the Integral Setting, but ends up with the Backdrop Setting instead.
The movie follows Melody Munro (Myanna Buring), a clever and charming corporate spy. She’s good at her job, lives with boy-toy Harmony Ambrose (Tom Rhys Harries) and has a nice apartment. She also doesn’t pay rent and skips work on a whim, which surprisingly leads to her losing her job and being evicted. Not wanting to be cast out, she proceeds to squat in the large space and ward off any realtors attempting to show the space to new tenants.
My Hot Property desperately wants to fill this same space as Fight Club and Jack's attachment to his apartment and material possessions, down to including a similar montage of price tags over properties and belongings as in Jack’s apartment. But the audience is never given a clear reason to care. Why is this apartment so important to her? How long has she been there? Why is her attachment to it such a major character flaw that needs to be overcome? Melody isn’t even at risk at being homeless, as there’s an open room at her brother’s (Sam Phillips) place.
The film does have a genuinely enjoyable antagonist in realtor J.P. DeCock (Alex Ferns). DeCock is hammy and willing to go to whatever means necessary to sell Melody’s apartment to a new buyer. This results in a fun war between the two with increasingly zany antics. DeCock brings new tenants by, only to find Melody and her boyfriend performing a satanic ritual in the middle of the floor. At one point, Melody wraps her apartment in aluminum foil, only for DeCock to use a laser through the window to get the apartment dimensions. Even with the lackluster filmmaking and editing, the film would have still been entertaining if it had concentrated on escalating this war between the two.
And of course, the film mostly drops DeCock in favor of Laurie Mills (Kate Bracken). Mills wants to write about the housing market, buy Melody’s apartment, and – gasp – steal her boyfriend. She is introduced halfway through the film as if she is Melody’s greatest enemy despite very little build-up, and Melody spends the rest of the film trying to take her down. Unfortunately, Mills lacks DeCock’s craziness and reads as less of a character than an attempt to parody hipsters and web journalists. Every second she’s on screen leads to wishing that DeCock would instead be accomplishing more of his antics instead, as it would then at least be more entertaining to watch.
My Hot Property is difficult to watch. Max McGill clearly had some interesting ideas and gags, including Nazi food, a botched baptism, and the ghost of a dead video game character. But the film doesn’t know how to keep focus. There are far too many characters, and too many antagonists with different goals. DeCock and Mills aren’t even the only antagonists in the film, there’s another in Melody’s sister-in-law! There is no personal connection to the apartment that needs saving, and no reason given to be sympathetic to Melody in her flight. Perhaps there’s an alternate universe version of the film where the entire runtime focuses on Melody attempting to sell the only apartment she’s ever owned and furnished herself from the crazy J.P. DeCock while she discovers a scheme to make enough money to pay off her rent. But the one that exists in this universe is not worth a watch.