Steven Soderbergh's career advances in patterns. He either has his feet planted in the mainstream with heist film remakes (Ocean's 11) or Oscar favorite drug melodramas (Traffic), or he's experimenting with the unexpected (the sci-fi love story Solaris). His latest attempt at combating his boredom with mainstream filmmaking is to use digital video to capture to sensationalism and superficiality of Hollywood itself. Soderbergh's regular scribe Coleman Hough penned Full Frontal as a scattershot look at seven different lives. But it's also a rather confusing and convoluted film-within-a-film.

Whether or not the result lives up to Soderbergh's hypothesis will depend on the viewer. The difference in digital video quality from scene to scene will test your patience, but some of the subplots are enough to keep you around for the entire experiment.

At the forefront are a film actress/journalist (Julia Roberts) and a film actor (Blair Underwood), who attempt an ill-conceived love affair. David Hyde Pierce plays a "Los Angeles" magazine editor on the verge of a nervous breakdown, with friend and social misfit Catherine Keener not far behind. David Duchovny, who is having a party thrown in his honor at the film’s climax, looks for a happy ending of his own from his massage therapist Catherine McCormack. Does everyone get what he or she wants? Does anyone have the hunger to get it?

Sometimes Soderbergh and Hough succeed; sometimes they fail miserably in their character study schematic. But, you have to give them credit. I would love to have seen diva Julia Roberts have to drive to the set herself and put on her own makeup for the supposedly below cut-rate shoot. That would have been almost more interesting than some of her cardboard scenes.

But at what price art? And who am I to say this is not a pretty mess, a film that just might work after multiple viewings and vivisections? However, I'm just a one-time reviewer, and my final mark will reflect as such, my young Soderbergh. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.

DVD includes director's commentary, deleted scenes, and director's spy cam, all required viewing to figure out what the hell this really is.

Movie Grade: C

DVD Grade: C