Sugar Town

"Weak"

Sugar Town Review


"Sugar Town" is a hastily thrown-together, satirical showbiz dramedy concerning washed up '80s rock stars learning generic life lessons about responsibility, trust, fidelity and aging gracefully, and it wouldn't be interesting at all if it didn't feature a curiously appropriate cast.

John Taylor (late of Duran Duran), Michael Des Barres (The Power Station), Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) and John Doe (X) are all uniquely qualified for their roles as four former pop icons trying to stage a comeback with a new band and lousy record no label will touch.

One has become a semi-rural family man, tempted to go back on the road (and to cheat on his pregnant wife) by a sexy Tejano singer (Lumi Cavazos). Another has an acrid, 11-year-old punk in bad '80s make-up (what 11-year-old boy wears makeup?) left on his doorstep by a groupie who claims he's the father. Another has become a small-time drug dealer, and the last is desperately clinging to his faded sex appeal, not realizing how pathetic he looks to the 19-year-old girls he comes on to in bars.

All of them give honest, understated and more than adequate performances -- especially considering the film's trite, simplistic relationships -- and hold their own co-starring with a handful of under-appreciated but powerful actresses (Rosanna Arquette, Beverly D'Angelo, Ally Sheedy).

But "Sugar Town" was scripted in eight days and shot in 15 by co-writers and directors Allison Anders and Kurt Voss, and boy does it show.

The good acting can't cover up the fact that this picture needed some serious finessing that the rushed production schedule didn't allow, and there's no reason Anders and Voss couldn't have slowed down. But they took this tack intentionally, wanting to recapture their days of yore making shoestring budget indies like "Border Radio" and "Mi Vida Loca."

If they succeeded in that, the spirit didn't make it to the screen. The storylines are contrived, the dialogue flat and superficial -- save a few killer lines ("He's practically perfect," says the man-less, esteem-deficient Sheedy. "He's not an alcoholic and he's been in therapy for four years!") -- and once you get a bead on the characters, the picture becomes sadly predictable.

While sentiments are sincere (but shallow), Anders' and Voss' rye showbiz observations have been recycled without being refreshed -- Arquette plays an actress appalled at being offered a part as Christina Ricci's mother; relative unknown Jade Gordon is a talentless, back-stabbing starlet blowing her way to the top -- and ultimately the picture just feels half-assed.

It's as if instead of shouting "Cut!" at the end of each take, the directors said, "That'll do. Let's move on."



Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th January 2001

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Production compaines: Channel Four Films, October Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Gwen, Nigel John Taylor as Clive, as Nick, as Jonesy, as Burt, as Carl, as Kate, Marion Moseley as In Utero Baby, Veronica Nommenson as Violet, Elena Nommenson as Rose, as Eva

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds 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.