Run Time: 83 minutes
Director: Marius Balchunas
Starring: Christina Ricci
DVD Release: November 16, 2004
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Following Mermaids with The Adams Family doesn't seem like a smart career direction for a child actor, but it never slowed Christina Ricci's ability to get what I would consider some of the best indie film gigs in Hollywood. I use the indie term loosely because most of her projects have been similar to No Vacancy, having the backing of a major distribution company, just with a smaller budget than standard Hollywood fair. No Vacancy follows in her long string of quirky characters who charm us with their oddities. It came on the heels of 200 Cigarettes, which may be why her characterization of Lillian in No Vacancy reminds me a little of Val in 200 Cigarettes.
No Vacancy finds Lillian waking up next to a stranger in the Pink Motel, which turns out to be the most neurotic hostel in California. The movie takes us through the overlapping stories of partying hotel guests, a raw foods fanatic, a violin virtuoso and the daughter of the innkeeper with everything coming to a head when Lillian's boyfriend arrives back at the Pink Motel with another woman. Ricci delivers a great performance, along with a cast of character's who seem hand picked to portray over-the-top versions of people you've met before. Part of what made the movie work for me was a cleverly crafted soundtrack that weaves the absurd moments together into a cohesive flow that I couldn't help but find entertaining. No Vacancy is funny, it's absurd, it's occasionally crass, but most importantly it's entertaining. This movie ran in limited theatrical release back in 1999 but was just released on DVD at the end of 2004.