King of the Jungle
Lineup. What's a fine cast doing in a film like this? (Leguizamo, Perez, Rapaport, Tomei, Sciorra)
dir-scr Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
with John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Julie Carmen, Cliff Gorman, Michael Rapaport, Marisa Tomei, Justin Pierce, Anabella Sciorra
release UK Apr.01 llgff
00/US 1h26 1 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
London L&G Film Fest There's an interesting idea in here, but nothing about this film succeeds in bringing it out. Seymour (Leguizamo) is a mentally disabled young man living in New York City with his political activist mother (Carmen) and her spicy Latina girlfriend (Perez). His best friend is a street vendor (Rapaport). His deadbeat dad (Gorman) is quite possibly the worst screen dad ever--uncaring, self-obsessed, never around, ignorant. Then a series of events conspire to send Seymour on a nightmarish odyssey, as everyone important to him is stripped away and he must rely on his depleted wits to survive in the jungle.

Sadly, not one character ever emerges as a human being--they all act like overscripted movie types screaming their dialog at each other in a film that doesn't contain a single believable plot point. It's all just so contrived that it hurts! At the beginning our interest is piqued by Leguizamo's intriguing performance, but even that gets old as cliches and improbabilities start falling from the sky. Perez is merely hysterical, all the time. Carmen is noble and worthy. Gorman is, well, inexplicably useless. Rapaport is caring yet helpless. Tomei is the tough cookie cop. The late Pierce is the deluded street thug. Sciorra is the hooker with a heart of gold. And there's nothing more to their characters than that. Everything that happens does so without even a shred of internal logic. And even if the film looks and sounds intriguing, there's nothing about it that convinces us of anything ... on any level. I'm sure no one set out to make such a mess--there are some important themes struggling vainly to escape, and at least Leguizamo gets to flex his acting chops. It's not surprising that the film hasn't been picked up by a distributor. But it is remarkable that a script this lame attracted a cast of this calibre. And that a film festival brought it to London.
adult themes, language, violence 2.Apr.01 llgff

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall