R, 1 hr. 48 min. Directed by: Robert Moresco. Release Date: August 18, 2006. DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006.
I had a single wish when this movie started. The opening credits were hellaciously long, stretching out over an eternity of open desert. So, I wished that the movie would get to the point. Little did I know that I’d get what I wanted in spades. We’re introduced to James Marsden as Tommy, who is fighting in the Gulf War and who has, quite frankly, lost his frigging mind. Flashback seven years prior and we learn that Tommy has actually mellowed with age and that he and his cousins were way too involved in their Mafioso heritage. They were probably way too involved with the latest drama on Jersey Shore, too, but that isn’t actively discussed on camera. It might just be personal conjecture.
Chances are good that you, like me, will wonder if you’ve managed to wander in to a tackier version of The Godfather. It’s also possible that I’ve now associated all movies about the Mafia with The Godfather, because the question does seem to come up on this blog pretty frequently whenever I start watching movies about organized crime. But, this felt so much like that greatest Mafia flick that I kept expecting that song (I don’t know what it’s called, but you know the one I’m talking about) to start playing in the background. I suppose what’s gone down is that half the movie is so clichéd and melodramatic that it fails to develop its own sense of self. Oh, and then the clown appeared and starting singing an opera song I remember being in The Godfather. Wait, what? I’m checking my drink.
At the end of the day, the only thing I actually enjoyed about this movie was Leslie Anne Warren, and her role was so brief that she couldn’t really do anything to fix this hot mess. There were actually several big names in very small parts, which was a bit of a surprise: Val Kilmer appears, as do Dennis Hopper, Brian Dennehy, and Tommy Lee (I’m hoping some sort of decon was available to the other members of the cast).
I got to about the 80 minute mark and I did something that (1) I don’t do very often and (2) I’m a little ashamed at myself for doing. I turned it off. I just couldn’t watch this keep going on and on with its insipid little tale of betrayal and machismo so thick it was starting to smell like aqua velva. I considered breaking the DVD and telling Netflix it never arrived, but then I thought that might be a bit of an overreaction. Just a bit.
If you’re looking for a GOOD organized crime movie, there are better options: The Godfather, Scarface, Donnie Brasco, Goodfellas, hell, even The Narrows was better, and I’d rather get a root canal than sit through that drudgery again. This is what happens when I give James Marsden a chance because he didn’t suck in Sex Drive.