Saturday, March 13, 2010
TIME WASTED: 85 MINUTES
SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS (D)
The best thing that comes to my mind when beginning this review of Saint John of Las Vegas is how thankful I am that I was able to see a free promotional screening as opposed to spending money to see this far below average film. For what I consider a baffling decision, I cannot for any reason come to a good conclusion why any production company would green light this script, employ people to make this movie, and then distribute it after actually seeing it.
The film stars Steve Buscemi as John, an uninteresting insurance company employee struggling in the rut that is his life. He gets a promotion to work on the road investigating suspected fraudulent claims from his company's policy holders. His partner in his task is another un-intriguing but strange character named Virgil played by Romany Malco (Conrad from Weeds). The two hit the road together to investigate a suspected fraudulent customer claim just outside of Vegas. This is not good for John as he has a slight (understatement) gambling problem.
After watching Buscemi blandly portray his boring character I didn't think the film could feature a worse or less interesting character. Enter Sarah Silverman's smiley face loving character Jill to the film. Not only was her fetish for smiley faces almost too far out there to believe, but the character literally brought nothing to the screen, or to the overall story. Silverman's character is more wacky and one dimensional than a bore, but that still translates to me hardly caring.
Most of the production was pretty solid except for the seemingly direction-less script. The film featured a lot of scenes that work well on their own, but as a whole I just didn't care. The theme of the film, if you can call it that, seemed to revolve around John's gambling problem. But the story veers off on so many different tangents it hardly refers to the addiction all the while constantly introducing new "tension" between the two main characters that passes as ludicrous and forced before the realm of seriousness is even considered. Many of the awkward situations are far from funny but seem to be an attempt by the filmmakers at comedy.
What am I supposed to be taking away from this film?!?! It's not really funny. The characters are not redeemable and are hardly interesting. It has little to no consistency. And what is the theme? Is it the gambling? Is it working through a crappy job? Is it two complete different personalities working together? Is it Buscemi and Silverman's odd relationship? The only thing I took from this movie is that the 85 minutes I wasted of my life watching it can never be replaced.
Overall, Saint John of Las Vegas was: not funny, not interesting, had almost no direction to the story, and had two or three redeemable or memorable parts the whole movie. At the premiere, there was scattered laughter early, but as the movie progressed less and less chuckles let lose from the audience. One guy laughed almost hysterically the whole time, but there is always one moron who likes garbage like this.
In most cases none of you will ever come across this movie. But if you do, heed this notion that it will be a waste of your time. Even Buscemi fans will be disappointed. The 14% approval rating on RottenTomatoes complimented with my distaste should be enough for you to stay far away.
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