The modern American real estate market is ripe for satire: With its cutthroat buyers, duplicitous real estate agents and spec sheets pitching dilapidated properties as "quaint" homes having "great view potential," the real estate industry practically verges on self-parody. That's why "Closing Escrow," the new mockumentary about three sets of prospective home buyers and their respective agents, feels almost superfluous.
Not that you couldn't say the same about such well-satirized targets as regional theater, competitive dog shows and folk music, but somehow in the hands of Christopher Guest and company, "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind" are more than mere spoofs. They're immersion experiences.
"Closing Escrow," by contrast, is a spoof, sometimes a funny one, and sometimes just plain overkill. It's the feature debut of writer-director Armen Kaprelian, a former producer of HGTV's "House Hunters." Kaprelian, who shares directing and writing credit with Kent Llewellyn, admittedly drew much inspiration for the film from his years on the reality show. (Evidently, he drew more than inspiration, as a consortium of real estate agents financed the film.)
Prospective house buyers include attorneys Bobby and Tamika White (Cedric Yarbrough and April Barnett), who set out to find a luxurious loft until an unplanned pregnancy redirects them toward a suburban house. The fact that the Whites are African American affords their politically correct yet racially insensitive agent Hillary (Wendi McLendon-Covey) several opportunities to offend, loudly berating another agent for using the term "plantation shutters" in front of her clients.