Bobby G. Can't Swim

"Extraordinary"

Bobby G. Can't Swim Review


Having just watched probably the worst single-man-show I had ever seen (Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi), I walked into the theatre for Bobby G. Can't Swim with the same queasy trepidation of Jodie Foster sitting in front of Hannibal the Cannibal in Silence of the Lambs. Another one-man show awaited me, this one in a genre (the street movie) that is overdone at the best.

Sitting in the theatre, still aching for Pepto-Bismol after Mograbi's shaky camerawork, I began to compose my negative review in advance. I began to figure out insults that I could pass off later on. This process occupied my mind for almost five minutes, at which point the thoroughly excellent and surprising Bobby G. Cant' Swim came on the screen and made me vow yet again to save coming up with snide wise ass comments until after I have watched the movie.

Bobby G. Can't Swim is the story of Bobby Grace (John-Luke Montias), a street pusher who may be able to make the deal of his lifetime... sell a key of cocaine to a bunch of out-of-town yuppies at a tremendous markup. Of course, several things go wrong with this simple plan and Bobby G. ends up fighting for his life.

Admittedly, Bobby G. loses a point for originality in plot, but therein lies the film's only flaw. Instead of having a street movie that waxes philosophical about how hard the street life is or that simply curses and shoots people, Bobby G. Can't Swim opts for adopting a strong case of gallows humor.

Bobby is a small time sucker who is constantly getting taken advantage of (i.e. he ends up getting a collector's bowling ball for a few grams of cocaine), and what little moral fiber Bobby has makes him so endearing to the viewer that it is impossible to take your eyes off the character. This is aided by the fact that John-Luke Montias tailor-made the part to himself and tended bar in the area in which the film takes place. Susan Mitchell, who plays Bobby's hooker-girlfriend, shines as much as a gritty New York hooker can shine.

Despite his proficiency with actors and his background in acting, Montias cannot and will not ever be described as an actor's director. This backhand that several critics use to excuse a director's lack of technical proficiency has no place in a review of Bobby G. Can't Swim due to the fact that the film is extremely well made. The camera is infused with the energy of the street, and Montias captures New York City perfectly.

The script sidesteps almost every cliché in the genre. It never mentions the Mafioso. It never deals with racist themes. It never paints its characters in black and white. The only cliché that it does not sidestep is its ending. Somewhere along the line, the script forces itself into a narrative cul-de-sac and we end up with a predictable final scene. Yet this is virtually the only problem, and the ending is not so terrible as to spoil the rest of the film. All in all Bobby G. Can't Swim is a film worth time and money in every way, shape, and form... it's a boisterous, exhilarating ride worth paying for.



Bobby G. Can't Swim

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 31st May 2000

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Bobby Grace, as Lucy, as Coco, Norman Middleton as Popeet, Gilbert Glenn Brown as Reggie, as Mike, as Andy, as Gina, as Tim, as Alex, Anthony Caso as Tony Zino, Steve Heinze as Astro, Bill Golodner as Det. Smith, Rick Poli as Dollar Bill, Tom Flannagan as Det. Nuzzo, Veronica Bero as His Girl, Cesar De León as Ricky, Amro Salama as Hafiz

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.