Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocket away, March 31, 2004
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This review is from: Bottle Rocket (DVD)
Taking a trip into Wes Anderson's head is like going into a parallel universe where most things are the same, but the nature of reality is just slightly warped. And that formula holds true for "Bottle Rocket," his first collaboration with actor Owen Wilson (who also stars), an absurdist crime caper.
Anthony (Luke Wilson) has just been released from a mental hospital after being treated for exhaustion ("You haven't worked a day in your life. How could you be exhausted?"). He hangs out with his idealistically weird pal Dignan (Owen Wilson), who has mapped out his life over the next 75 years. Dignan, having seen a TV special, has decided to become a master criminal.
First they recruitt the timid Bob (Bob Musgrave) as the getaway driver, as he is the only one who has a car. They practice for a while on smaller-time burglaries, such as robbing a bookstore -- then hiding out at a motel, where Anthony falls in love with the pretty South-American maid (Lumi Cavazos). However, the guys find themselves in hot water when they bump into a REAL crime boss (James Caan).
Wes Anderson's touch is a little rough in his movie debut, but it's that slightly unpolished touch that makes his offbeat style a delight here. For example, Anthony "escapes" from a hospital that he can leave anytime he wants. That unnecessarily complex opener sets the tone of the rest of the movie, of thrillseeking young men who are just a little out of sync with the rest of us.
Don't expect stupid puns, toilet humor and bad sex jokes. "Bottle Rocket" shares the dry, funny, erratic humor of Anderson's later movies. Not to mention a thousand funny little lines ("Bob stole his car!"). Anderson and Wilson avoid being self-consciously cool, in favor of being earnestly quirky. No banter, just wit.
The Wilson brothers are in fine form here, especially when interacting with one another. Anthony is calmer and thinks a lot; Dignan is idealistic and wacky almost to the point of mental illness. They have a certain innocence despite their illegal ambitions, and it's fun just to see them ramble around. They, Inez and Bob are sort of misfits, but not the kind you laugh at.
It's a little erratic, but "Bottle Rocket" comes across as fresh, weird, and extremely well-done. Funny, zany and charming crime comedy with a twist of Wes Anderson.
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