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2004
Rated: R for graphic language, violence, and strong sexual content.
Genre: Drama Romance
Directed By: Reverge Anselmo
Running Time: 1:36
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 8/16/05
DVD Features:
Previews
Audio Commentary 1. Reverge Anselmo
2. Jonathan Tucker
3. Leigh Cook
4. Agnes Bruckner
5. Daniel Franzese
Interviews 1. Cast
2. Director
Interactive Features:
Scene Access
If you like this, try: Mad Love, The Notebook, An Officer and a Gentleman, Love Story, A Walk to Remember

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STATESIDE

 

Val Kilmer, for his fleeting walk-on role, is a breath of fresh air in this exercise in stupidity. As a hard-boiled but somewhat soft drill sergeant, he has a charming appearance that prompts the audience to appreciate him while he's on for such a short time. Kilmer is likable, and fun to watch and becomes the only real believable aspect of the film as a drill sergeant.

"Stateside" is many things, some times it's awful, some times it's bad, and some times it's just awfully bad without a brain in its head, or a minutia of originality within its story. The writers can never really seem to know what the hell story they're trying to tell the audience, so, in turn, we're never sure what the hell type of movie we're watching in the end. The writers don't seem to really give a shit, so they take a meaningless "Officer and a Gentleman" sub-plot, mixed with a "Love Story" setting, and with themes of "Girl. Interrupted", meanwhile there's the shit in-between which make this such a dreadful ninety minutes that went on and on without an end in sight.

What's the message to the movie? What's the parallel between war and love? The real stars that are in this movie, are properly wasted and mis-used such as Val Kilmer, Joe Mantegna, Jessica Lange, Carrie Fischer, and one of the most unusual cameos from director Penny Marshall. Perhaps the writer and director are mental defects, because I couldn't understand a damn thing in this film, nor did I really want to try.

Rachel Cooke plays Dori, a rock star who is a schizophrenic. Dori's turn in to the mental defect is awfully melodramatic, and, much like the entire film, very clunky; she's like Courtney Love's less mental sister who is taken to a mental ward. Jonathan Tucker, the geeky guy from the terrible "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake, plays Mark, a really unlikable main character who gets himself in to trouble and is forced in to going to the Marines where we're subjected to the usual sequences that come with the territory such as training, and training, and more training, and we're led to believe that this sub-plot is going somewhere, when it really doesn't.

The situations are often extremely manipulative and convenient to the story, almost to the point where it's drawn to the quality of a day time soap. For instance, Mark's reasoning for being sent to the Marines was because he nearly kills his friends and a priest. Question is, what was the point of the car crash? What was the priest doing in the abandoned road in the middle of the night? We're never told, but we're continuously exposed to these utterly terribly drawn out unlikable characters. The acting from everyone is very weak and sometimes noticeably bad, but the damage comes from its two uncharismatic leads. Tucker is boring and his character is really hard to sympathize for, while Cooke is over-the-top with her mentally defective miming of a schizoid.

She's laughably bad as someone losing their mind. For a movie that is a love story we hardly ever get to learn about Dori's character at all until they meet. What's their attraction to one another, honestly? Their "romance" is so rushed, and we're never given anything to believe that they've genuinely fallen head over heels in love while we're fed dialogue that is always routine exposing us to the usual broad characterization, and often very clunky lines. There are even lines like "Your house is like my head". Ouch. Essentially, this was a brutally painful ninety minutes that could have been much better spent. In the history of romances, this will be forgotten and promptly issued a note of obscurity.

This is such a jumbled mess in the end. Weak acting, pointless plot devices (who the hell keeps a tea set in their car?!), go nowhere sub-plots, bland leading actors, and a jumbled plot make for an ultimately awful forgettable romance.

 

 

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