Johnny Montana

"OK"

Johnny Montana Review


For years, philosophers have preached that money can't buy happiness. In the '60s, The Beatles crooned about how money can't buy love. Now, the new indie flick Johnny Montana asks us to make a choice between the two things in life we desire most -- love or money.

Brooklyn-born twentysomething Johnny Monaghan (John Daniel Gavin) can't make it out of the rut that is his life. He sells pot and lives at home with his elderly parents and unemployed brother. The one thing he can do is throw a perfect spiral. It's no wonder he has renamed himself Johnny Montana after his football idol. Unlike his idol however, Johnny can't keep a steady job. Telemarketing, dog walking, car washing, and flyer distributing all prove to be too much work for Johnny. And yet, despite the lack of any real skill or ambition, Johnny's childhood friend, Laura (Lori Prince) still loves him.

Johnny eventually finds employment as a doorman at a Manhattan apartment building. Unfortunately, like all of his prior ventures, this one doesn't pan out. But, it does lead to a new job working for a local art gallery manager named Alexis (Jane Culley). Alexis sees Johnny's potential, not as a curator of art, but as a connoisseur of sex. She cleans up his appearance and sets him up with a handsomely furnished apartment in SoHo. Johnny is now a gigolo, servicing New York's rich and sexually depressed for big bucks.

Laura has no idea about Johnny's new job -- in fact, he makes her believe that he's still a concierge. Once Johnny's new fortune comes rolling in, he uses it to buy Laura a Tiffany bracelet. Is she so naïve to think that such a gift is possible on Johnny's meager salary? What about his new Harley or the expensive accessories in his apartment? How can he afford all of these things? I kept waiting for the big question to be asked, but the issue is readily dismissed. And that's just one of many issues I had with this deficient story.

The biggest unanswered question: How does Johnny's life lead him in the direction of being a gigolo? Were all of the legal options exhausted? Were the New York Giants or Jets not hiring? We realize that Johnny is desperate for money, but the film never explores his motivation for engaging in this dangerous behavior. If his relationship with Laura is so important, we should have seen a clear struggle with his decision to prostitute himself. All of the resulting conflict from his choice occurs much later than it should have.

Not only is Johnny deficient in his love life, but in his family life as well. Several personal tragedies are met with Johnny's complete ambivalence. Montana's tagline may indicate that love is an option for Johnny, but it's pretty obvious that he does not know how to love. An intimate moment with Laura turns into a kinky sex act that he's become accustomed to performing. His behavior is appalling to her. As the film progresses, we realize that Johnny's choices are not between love and money, but common sense and reality.

While Gavin's film is light on story, the vast New York City landscape he covers gives Montana a richly authentic feel. Not one landmark is missed, and every location that's depicted is included for specific reasons. Gavin's camera is remarkable at providing us with a unique and unobtrusive view of the proceedings. We feel less like we're watching a movie and more like we're experiencing it. Yet, it's still not enough to recommend Montana.



Johnny Montana

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st June 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: John Daniel Gavin

Producer: John Daniel Gavin

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