Accusatory ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ leaves subtlety on the table

Lacey Terrell, Roadside Attractions

David Warshofsky, Salma Hayek, Jay Duplass and Connie Britton in “Beatriz at Dinner.”

“BEATRIZ AT DINNER” — 2 stars — Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, Chloe Sevigny, David Warshofsky; R (language and a scene of violence); Broadway

“Beatriz at Dinner” is a bizarre, finger-pointing, us versus them kind of movie. Its battle lines are clear, even if its ultimate message isn’t.

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a humble Southern California massage therapist and animal lover who is raising a small (probably illegal) zoo in her apartment. She’s in mourning over the recent loss of her favorite goat, which she believes was killed by an angry neighbor.

Beatriz’s favorite client is Cathy (Connie Britton), a woman wealthy enough to live in a prestigious gated community in a house big enough to feature a full staff of live-in servants. Years earlier, Beatriz helped Cathy’s teenage daughter through a bout with cancer and has blurred the line between service provider and family friend ever since. So when, after her client-friend’s regular massage, Beatriz finds that her beater VW won’t start, Cathy insists that she stay for dinner.

Dinner is actually a celebratory dinner party. Cathy’s husband Grant (David Warshofsky) is marking a significant development deal with Doug Strutt (John Lithgow), who runs a major corporation called Rife Worldwide. When asked if he builds hotels, Strutt smugly responds that he just owns them. Strutt is a cartoon caricature of a capitalist: arrogant, wealthy, corrupt and quick…

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