(aka "There's No Fish Food In Heaven")
by Matt Williams
Sexy and somewhat surreal, There's No Fish Food in Heaven is a romantic comedy in which all of the real romance comes after the female lead stabs the male lead in the head. The plot, despite such auspicious beginnings, is relatively weak, but the true strength of this film lies elsewhere. Following the stabber Mona (Fairuza Balk), the film leads us through a bizarre trail of paintings that foreshadow events, a brief sexual affair with the devil, Mona's quest for the body of the stabbing victim (Noah Taylor), and past a series of characters obviously created in a story conference by Quentin Tarantino, William S. Burroughs, and Charles Dickens. The true brilliance of the film rests with these characters, who range from pregnant cousin Rosie (Debi Mazar) and Mona's decoupaging mother to a musically inclined minister Pete and a carjacking poet -- a character who needs to recur in every one of director Eleanor Gaver's films. These cleverly constructed characters, captured in Gaver's sunnily decrepit Los Angeles, make Fish Food excellent escapist fare.
by David Schwawrtz
It would be hard to imagine a romantic black comedy made with a lighter, more assured manner than Eleanor Gaver's beguiling feature There's No Fish Food in Heaven. Fairuza Balk is Mona, a frustrated young artist who not only paints her dreams (and nightmares) but has a habit of watching them turn into reality. Mona is romantically torn between a mysterious stranger who may not be real and her longtime boyfriend who may not be alive. Gaver's ability to deftly move between fantasy and reality gives the film a gossamer touch that is enhanced by its bright pastel visuals, jaunty music track, and relaxed ensemble acting. Balk gives one of her strongest performances as Mona, a young woman struggling to cope with her oversized emotions.
Producers: Terence Michael, Jane Reardon, Allan Mindell
Executive Producers: H. Michael Heuser, Tea Leoni
Director: Eleanor E. Gaver
Screenwriter: Eleanor E. Gaver
Director of Photography: Pascal Lebeque
Production Designer: Susan Block
Editor: Barbara Gies
Music: Smokey Hormel, Joey Waronker
USA, 1998, 92 mins