Prisoners of Inertia

Director: Jeffrey Noyes Scher
Screenwriters: Jeffrey Noyes Scher

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


IN-ER-TIA, noun, 1) a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion unless acted upon by some external force; 2) indisposition to motion, exertion, or change. Sam (Amanda Plumper) is way past pruney as she soaks the Sunday-morning hours away in the kitchen bathtub. Dave (Christopher Rich) tries to break the torpor by luring her out of the suds and back between the sheets. These lolling newlyweds in their cluttered cocoon of a downtown Manhattan apartment may no seem the likeliest candidates for a twenty-four-hour, all-night (mis)adventure that will find them up the Hudson river, sitting in a stalled Portuguese fishing boat with several bags of groceries as dawn breaks the next day. But it all happens because they decide to go out to brunch.

Although Sam and Dave try to imagine that New York is as romantic as Paris, their looking glass soon reveals an urban angst more suggestive of Calcutta. They do encounter two particularly memorable characters while “on the road,” however: the obnoxious Ogden (John C. McGinley) and the wasted Weed (Mark Boone Junior). The comic moral of this tale is simply that there’s no place like home. Produced by the team that brought Sally Kirkland’s Oscar-nominated performance in Anna to the screen, Prisoners of Inertia is a first feature for writer/director Scher. It also offers Amanda Plummer her first leading role in an already acclaimed career that has included a Tony Award for Agnes of God and notable supporting roles in movies from Garp to Static.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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