Dog Eat Dog
dir Moody Shoaibi
scr Moody Shoaibi, Mark Tonderai
with Mark Tonderai, Nathan Constance, David Oyelowo, Crunski, Gary Kemp, Geff Francis, Alan Davies, Melanie Blatt, Pal Aron, Rebecca Hazlewood, Stewart Wright, John Tomson
release UK 7.Dec.01
FilmFour 01/UK 1h33
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Apparently we haven't yet had enough hip and cool British crime comedies. Because here's another, blatantly lifting the basic structure of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this time in a much more multi-racial London. The four lads here (Tonderai, Constance, Oyelowo and Crunski) are good-hearted DJs who are each in dire need of a lot of money. But everything goes wrong, and they become increasingly indentured to two major thugs: the drug dealer Jesus (Kemp) and the porn vendor Thunde (Francis). Various girlfriends figure in, as well as three dogs in mortal peril. But Amores Perros it ain't.

This is one of those lazily written films that never bothers to build convincing characters, relying instead on cartoonish shorthand and goofy performances, along with a simplistic script that, for the comic tone, gets surprisingly preachy at the end. There's also a rather mean undercurrent of gross-out humour that makes us wince (not laugh). Still, there's a breezy rhythm from start to finish, and the central foursome are quite good fun to watch--likeable and energetic. They almost make the film bearable as it gets increasingly stupid, trying far too hard to be funny and suspenseful ... and failing utterly on both counts. It's all so pointless that you get the idea Shoaibi and Tonderai came up with the script one night at university when they were utterly wasted, thought it was hilarious, and then used their sheer charm to get the money to make the film. Maybe you need to be wasted to enjoy it, but I doubt even that would help.
adult themes, language cert 15 4.Dec.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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