Blow review by Jackass Tom

Due to popular demand, (and my own disgust at how by my review was of this atrocity of a movie), I have rewritten it. My opinion of this movie has not changed in five years (as I viewed it again months earlier), but my acceptance for low quality writing has. That why I’m a jackass.

At one point, this was a movie I was really looking forward to seeing. The trailer passed it off as a GoodFella's-esque true-to-crime/true story film, with maybe a touch of Scarface<. Sweet…that’s a pretty solid combo. To top it off, the main character was played by Johny Depp who is known for taking roles with strong characters, good scripts and not selling out for Hollywood dollars. It never dawned on me that this movie would be haunted by bad writing, generic characters, and scenes so blatantly ripped off that Martin Scorsese might demand royalties.

On with the show… George Jung (Johny Depp) is a meandering hippy, with not a whole lot going on in his life. Much like Henry Hill’s character in Goodfellas, Jung monologues over a good portion of the movie, as if he is looking back on his life and retelling the tale as we watch. Also, like Goodfellas, the opening scenes are face paced and spliced together with stunning editing prowess. Instead of being into mob-based crime, Jung is into drugs. He figures out that there is easy money in selling marijuana, so he and his buddy Tuna (Ethan Suplee) decide to go into business fulltime. Selling weed is good business, but in order to break it big, Jung has to figure out how to get cocaine into the states. Just like the aforementioned movies, the main character gets wrapped up in more greed and more danger as he gets pulled deeper into his life of crime.

The main problem is with the script. In good films, the script does a few things. One, it serves to move the characters and action from one scene to the next. Two, it fleshes out the characters, giving them personalities and making them interesting. Blow barely hits number one and never even comes close to accomplishing number two. A scene in Blow may play out like this:< BR>
PERSON1: How will we get the coke in Columbia?
PERSON2: We can fly there.
Plane lands in Columbia. PERSON1: We are here for the coke.
PERSON3: Who are you?

Also scenes tend to transition confusingly. Sometimes its hard to tell why a character is where he/she is, or what even happened to characters you saw before (ex. Why did Jung's first girlfriend die? Why doesn’t he ever see his friend Tuna again?) Not sure if these are due to the editor's leaving something out, or the writers leaving something out. Early on I praised the movies rapid story telling pace, but as I got deeper into the Blowing chunks I became a bit confused, very bored, and not concerned at all about what happened to the crappy characters.

Its hard to fault the acting in this film. Depp is pretty good, but its far from being one of his more compelling roles. I’ll take his reptilian Hunter S. Thompson over this two-bit, pansy drug dealer any day. The rest of the characters were pretty one-dimensional and generic (“Ok, GIRLFRIEND1 served her purpose, time to kill her off”). Penny Cruz’s character was just unlikable… which is a shame because you really want to wrap her up in a blanket and cuddle. Cuddling is tough to do with a 90-lb coke head who is screaming all the time in Spanish.

Demme's direction is full of tricks that might work in a movie that is worth following, but Blow looks more like a circus side show. I am still wondering if some of these flaws were corrected, would a movie about a coke-trafficker be that interesting? I’m sure if I was some kid in college who was fighting the establishment (“Make pot legal dude! It will solve the world s problems… wait don’t change the station that’s the episode where Butthead…”)I might associate on some level with the main character, but I think that theory shows the weakness of the character in general. You don’t have to be the type of guy that stabs people in trunks to like Goodfellas, but I feel like in order to appreciate this film you have associate on some level with Depps character because…well he doens’t do much else. The most exciting thing this guy did was take a back full of cocaine from one country to another. He gave it to Pee Wee Herman, who then sold it. Is that really what the movie going public wants lay down $7.50 to see?

2 out of 10 Jackasses
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