More studio noodling than polished recording, Sugar Town — about a group of L.A. film and rock & roll types on the ups and the downs — coasts on a rough jam-session feeling. And as is traditional in the work of Allison Anders (”Grace of My Heart”) — here writing and directing with Kurt Voss — the interior lives of the women involved come in for particular scrutiny. Rosanna Arquette plays an actress who can’t quite accept that her ingenue days are over; Ally Sheedy’s a successful production designer with an unsuccessful social life; Jade Gordon makes a cunning Eve Harrington of the music world, wide-eyed and manipulative.
The very sketchiness of the project — whipped up, the filmmakers have said a little too proudly, in eight days and shot in three weeks — keeps ”Sugar Town” from achieving any deep insights into the psyches of showbiz Angelenos. But among characters more symbolic than specific, one stands out: That durable, sexy powerhouse Beverly D’Angelo steals every scene she’s in, as a rich widow with a shady past who knows exactly what — and whom — she wants in a population befuddled by too many options.