Director Nicole Gomez Fisher Family Comedy Strikes a Chord
by Annabella Campos
I had the opportunity to screen Sleeping With The Fishes, written by Nicole Gomez Fisher, at the 2013 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) last weekend. As a special treat the talented screenwriter Gomez Fisher was present for the Q&A session following the screening.
Sleeping With The Fishes is Gomez Fisher’s directorial debut and is a coming of age comedy starring Gina Rodriguez (Filly Brown). Rodriguez plays a recently widowed Alexis “Lexi” Fish. After her husband’s death she ends up back home living with her Jewish father (Tibor Feldman) and her overbearing Puerto Rican mother, played by Tony award-winning actress Priscilla Lopez. Thus begins Lexi’s journey of re-discovery with her zany family playing a major part. The results are both funny and brilliantly real. The dialogue is well written; it’s youthful and provokes genuine laughter and every character in this film adds their own magic to the mix.
Rodriguez’s “Lexi” Fish is refreshingly realistic, the kind you see often in American romantic comedy, only this time the lead happens to be Latina/Jewish. Rodriguez takes you along her character’s journey from beginning, to the transformation of the newly empowered Lexi. Ana Ortiz’s (Devious Maids, Ugly Betty) performance as Lexi’s comic book loving sister is terrific; her character is truly adorkable. Lopez plays the overly critical mother so on the money, I had by own “overly critical mothering” anxiety flashbacks.
Gomez Fisher’s career began as an actress and stand-up comic from Brooklyn. She was a member of The Hot Tamales Live! the Latina comedy tour produced by Kiki Melendez. She went on to write and perform her acclaimed one-woman show, Mixed at the New York Underground Comedy Festival.
Gomez Fisher has a bright future. She just finished writing her second feature, Good Egg, an action comedy, as well as spec scripts for Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. Both Sleeping with the Fishes and her original sitcom, This is My Life, have won praise at several screenwriting competitions.
During the post screening Q&A Gomez Fisher talked about the process of directing her first film, which she said took 3 years from script to end of production, but was shot just 19 days. Indeed the audience agreed, it was worth the wait.
Sleeping With The Fishes is a family movie with some real “out there” characters. Every family has some; maybe yours does too?