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L.A. FILM FESTIVAL

Night the `Transformers' took over Westwood

Well, OK, not all of it. But four theaters and several blocks were filled up by the premiere and party.

June 29, 2007|Deborah Netburn | Times Staff Writer

All four of the Los Angeles Film Festival's theaters in Westwood Village took a break from screening documentaries and small coming-of-age stories Wednesday night to simultaneously premiere Michael Bay's "Transformers," a gigantic special-effects-heavy blockbuster made, as the opening credits announced, "in association with Hasbro."

But Westwood Village isn't really set up to handle an influx of more than 1,000 people, most of whom do not regularly attend premieres, so the scene at the will-call lines was one of barely contained panic.

At 7:10, a young woman in a short black dress hurriedly hopped out of an idling Mustang convertible, opening her car door into a passing bicyclist and sending him to the ground.

"I'm so sorry," she mumbled as the young man picked himself up.

Then she stood around awkwardly, occasionally glancing at her watch, as he finished testing his front wheel and periodically gripped his aching hand.

The people in line watched in sympathy, mostly for her, because any one of them could have done the same thing. All were relieved when he finally rode off.

The movie itself was pure 12-year-old boy's fantasy. It's a world where the hottest girl in school looks like a model from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and also happens to know a lot about cars, where the dorky guy with imperfect skin holds the key to saving the world, and where the best computer hacker in America is a gorgeous blond Australian woman with a nose ring.

When it was over, Joe Casio, 27, who sells ads for local radio station Power 106, said, "I'm right in between like and love with it."

His friend and co-worker Preston Williams, 31, added, "I loved the introduction" to the Transformers. "All their names started to come back to me."

What they didn't like was the barely there love story ("Weak!").

After the premiere, a huge party closed down several blocks of Westwood's Broxton Avenue, where aside from copious free booze, guests were served sleepover fare such as mini-corn dogs, ice cream and a Burger King buffet.

The VIP area was down at the far end of the party, and "Transformers" director Bay and costar Josh Duhamel had to walk through the rest of the crowd before getting to their safe haven.

Idling down the street in sunglasses and white fedora, Bernie Mac, who has a cameo in the film, called out to a bartender, "You got any beer?"

But before he could find out, he was ushered toward the VIP area. There was presumably plenty of beer there and, judging from the relaxed-door policy, a lot of reality-TV stars too.

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

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