There are a few facts that those of you who marched on Washington for the Lo.-Vo. team should know before you attempt to stuff the rented VHS of U Turn into your Beta machine.
Sean Penn is career criminal Bobby Cooper, a desperate Jackass about as affable as Newt Gingrich after sitting on a tack. While on a trip to Vegas through the Arizona Desert, Bobby is forced to make a U Turn by a busted Radiator Hose. He ends up dealing with the only mechanic in town, a Deliverance-reject named Darrell (Billy Bob Thornton) who has no great sympathy for Bobby's sixty-four-and-a-half Mustang convertible.
Enter Grace McKenna, the home-town hottie with a hidden agenda and a mile of booty trailing behind her. Naturally, Bobby realizes right away that she looks just like Jennifer Lopez, and that he does indeed need to get him some of that. Sadly, Grace's hubby Jake (Nick Nolte) is none too warm to the idea.
What follows is an ultra-cool, yet ultimately flat account of how many crappy things can happen to Bobby, one after another. Whether being hit on by Claire Danes or beat on by Joaquin Phoenix; whether facing dual proposals for murder, or being escorted to the border by the town Sheriff Powers Boothe; whether having his cash shredded (no car repairs are free), or facing off with a blind psychopath (old J. Vo.), this is pretty much a bad, bad day for old Bobby-o!
The problem with this movie is that it probably made a much better book. John Ridley adapted this blended screenplay from his Desert Psychadelia book Stray Dogs, and I guess they put their faith in star-director Oliver Stone. The issue is, though, that capturing textual psychadelia on film isn't an easy task, and far too often, Stone seems to be focusing his energies on being "cool" rather than telling a good story. The story's there, but it doesn't exactly fill up a full 125 minutes all its own.
The feelings we feel for Penn's character range from dislike to sympathy to pathos to bathos to absolute boredom. Sure it's sad when every bad thing falls upon him, sure it's funny how many bad things keep happening, but after a while, it's just there, and you don't feel a damned thing!
Aside from the stars of this film we're treated to a number of noteworthy cameos. Blink and you'll miss big Abraham Benrubi as a gun-toting theif! Claire Danes is always good, but here she plays a hilarious Trailer-Trash hussy named Jenny! It's also nice to see Joaquin Phoenix working, but it's not the intelligent and introspective Phoenix of Signs and Gladiator but the over the top, silly Phoenix that shows up here as "TNT"! It keeps getting weirder as both Laurie Metcalf and Liv Tyler pop up just long enough to make you say, "Hey was that Laurie Metcalf and Liv Tyler?" Even Airplane's Julie Hagerty shows up to say the F-Word.
It's a fun little weird movie, all right, and you can't say that it's like much you've ever seen before... Plus, you've got to toast any Jennifer Lopez Nude Scene! However, after a time, this film outdoes itself in predictability, and simply doesn't know where to end. There's a distinct sense that Oliver Stone really loved this movie... maybe to the point of belaboring the end credits by a good ten minutes. You'll probably like the movie, and you'll probably never forget it... but you also probably won't try nominating it for the AFI top 100!
Three and One Half Stars out of Five for U Turn, and that's not bad. It's a fun and psychedelic little desert movie with great quotes and cool, cool, cool imagery. The only thing missing is Kyuss on the soundtrack.
|What's New?||Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!||SearchThisSite:||Advertise With Us!||About...||Lynx Links:||F*A*Q|