Quentin Tarantino is kicking himself. Were a few epic movies worth enduring all the disappointing imitations that followed?
The latest Tarantino copycat is Doug Liman, who directed Go (Columbia Pictures). This film is essentially a teenybopper Pulp Fiction, but Scott Wolf is no Samuel L. Jackson and Katie Holmes is no Uma Thurman. Go develops in much the same way the Pulp Fiction plot develops. Go introduces a variety of characters into a storyline that is out of time sequence until the characters finally cross paths after you’ve wondered in your head for the hundredth time, “How much more crap can happen to these poor saps?”
The film follows Claire (Holmes, “Dawson’s Creek”), Ronna (Sarah Polley, The Sweet Hereafter) and Simon (Desmond Askew) as they escape their painfully pathetic jobs at the supermarket to get into the mischief of night life. Simon – whose only endearing quality is his British accent – ends up in Las Vegas with three guys and sees a lot of breasts. Ronna and Claire go to a big rave to sell drugs, make rent and dance among glowing people.
Then throw into the mix Adam (Wolf, “Party of Five”) and Zack (Jay Mohr, Jerry Maguire), two homosexual soap opera stars who help perpetrate a police sting then get into sassy verbal exchanges. After a few haltingly repetitive scenes, the characters cross paths and the subplots thicken. The movie spares nothing from the action movie bag of tricks, filling each scene with drug deals gone bad, gun-toting strip-club bouncers, expensive cars chasing each other, lots of sex, loud electronic music and weirdo cops.
Many critics already are hailing this movie as a brilliant continuation of Liman’s first picture, Swingers, which followed some swinging L.A. guys to Vegas. Some critics say Go is an even more ambitious and edgy look at the lives of L.A. kids in the club/rave scene. No. No. NO.
I loved Swingers. But, I would have to argue that this movie pales in comparison and shouldn’t even be measured by the same ruler. What made Swingers a magic movie was not Liman’s camera angles – it was actor and writer John Favreau’s charming, self-deprecating observations. Favreau’s acting and writing talents are greatly missed in Go.
The movie does have its moments, though. Liman’s cinematic realization of the drugged state-of-mind was right on the money – and I could tell it hit a little too close to home with some of the people in the theater. I also enjoyed some of the anxious scenes of L.A. midnight mayhem. And, it was definitely a treat to see Wolf play a big-screen gay version of Bailey from “Party of Five.”
In total, Go is pretty fun for audiences to watch. It’s got guns, boobies, a Ferrari, techno music and a grocery store dance scene to the tune of “The Macarena.” But, ultimately, the film says nothing. It has no bigger messages – the only ones I could decipher were “drugs are cool” and “moviegoers will watch anything with teen heartthrobs.”
In a few short months, don’t be surprised if you see this movie collecting cobwebs next to Two Days in the Valley on the video store shelf marked “If you liked Pulp Fiction.” Go desperately wants to be cool and cutting edge but ends up more like another episode of “Dawson’s Crap.”