A writer's life is not an easy one. "The Tenants" (featured at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival) explores the lives of two novelists living in a run down Brooklyn building in 1972. Based on a novel by Bernard Malamud, the movie dives into the world of writers who can sometimes experience long bouts of loneliness, criticism of their work and the thing they dread the most, writer's block.
Henry Lesser (Dylan McDermott) is working on his third novel, hoping to make up for the previous flop that failed to meet the expectations of his first book. As he types away on his old typewriter, Henry's landlord (Seymour Cassel) pounds frantically on his door trying desperately to convince the last remaining inhabitant of the building to vacate the premises so he can sell the building. Henry, a creature of habit, promises to move out as soon as the book is completed. Henry tries to stay focused on his writing but is surprised to hear tapping sounds coming from down the hall. He investigates the disturbance, only to find Willie Spearmint (Snoop Dogg), an Afro-American novelist who is obsessed with the concept of Black Power. They manage to cultivate a friendship and professional respect for each other's work until Willie asks Henry to read his work and offer comments. Further problems crop up when the building's landlord figures out that Willie is trespassing on the property by using a room to work but fails to pay any rent. As if the two struggling writers didn't have enough to argue about, Henry falls in love with Willie's girlfriend Irene (Rose Byrne) and then has to figure out how to tell his racist buddy the truth.
While the pairing of Dylan McDermott and hip hop artist Snoop Dogg is odd, it manages to work at times, but the overall film lacks substance and the mood is just so "blah." The scenes with Irene (Rose Byrne) are tedious to watch. Her character is morose beyond words and a complete waste of her talent. Would have probably made a better play instead of a movie.