The Pleasure Drivers
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The Pleasure Drivers lays out three separate interconnected stories involving an adulterous therapist, a young sociopath call girl, a vicious lesbian hit woman, a white trash kidnapper, and a brain-damaged ex-cult guru. Described as funny, sexy, edgy and dangerous, The Pleasure Drivers energetically explores the dark side of Los Angeles and how it gleefully relates to the gasoline of libido.
Features: Wide Screen Presentation
Considering that Andrzej Sekula, director of The Pleasure Drivers, was Quentin Tarantino's cinematographer on Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, it's not too surprising that this 2005 film sometimes echoes the latter's approach. Indeed, were it not for the fact that the story makes little sense, the dialogue isn't funny, the characters are poorly drawn, and the acting is almost uniformly sub-par, you might think this was the work of Tarantino himself. As it is, Sekula has made a movie that clearly values style over substance, achieving a modicum of the former and almost none of the latter. Screenwriter Adam Haynes' story revolves primarily around a low-life "caregiver" (Lauren Holly) tending to a mentally unstable young man (Angelo Spizzirri) whose father, some kind of cult leader, has been less than forthcoming with the financial support she depends on; her solution is to kidnap the kid's equally weird sister (Steffany Huckaby). Meanwhile, a full-of-himself professor-therapist (Angus MacFadyen) who constantly whispers Freudian drivel into a tape recorder finds himself rejected by his wife and glommed on to by an oversexed student (Lacy Chabert). These folks, along with "a vicious lesbian hit woman" (no, really), come together somewhere in the Southern California desert, where the film mercifully comes to a close. Sekula favors moody lighting and odd camera angles, the better to illuminate a cast of scenery-chewing, unlikable characters drifting through a tale that will intrigue almost no one. The cover blurb notes that The Pleasure Drivers has been "described as funny, sexy, edgy and dangerous." Maybe so, but that description must have come from someone who didn't actually see it. --Sam Graham
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Billy Zane is completely useless as the preacher's lieutenant. Lauren Holly... I have no idea... she's definitely trashy.. but the performance is still crap... she looked like she wanted to jump MeatLoaf's bones in the trailer... which was equally creepy. Angus has gotten waaaay FAT. He was a sad mix of Dr. Frasier Crane and Jeff Goldblum.(Jurassic/Independence Day performances) All the vocabulary and idiosyncracies of both and none of the positive attributes. What a crap character. The single redeeming performance of this movie was Lacey Chabert. Her character was a simple, one dimensional slut, and she played it really well. (Smokin' bod didn't hurt either) All the other performances were completely forgettable. The story is, at best, unfinished and more accurately hap-hazard and lame. 1 star, and that primarily goes Lacey's performance. I've been subjected to worse.
The first half of the movie balances entertainment and realism well. The second half of the movie loses the balance and is a chore to watch, primarily as one of the main characters, a college instructor, becomes whining, depressive, and intolerable.
Sekula successfully replicates his great,unique style of cinematography we first saw those many years ago.I won't try to take that away from him,because I can't...he is truly gifted in that aspect (watch 2009's "Armored").But between him and the truly incompetent "writer" Adam Haynes,the film comes across as a bad attempt at ripping off QT's knack for organic,original,realistic,smoooth,insert-more-positive-adjectives-here dialogue and direction.In trying to cop QT's "different stories that intertwine" theme from Pulp Fiction,Haynes instead produces incoherent plots,clumsy dialogue and senseless twists,such as the Wordless Lesbian Assassin/Sodomizer (yeah,you read right).In a nutshell,it's the kind of movie that would have been perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000.
As disjointed and unfocused as it is,the cast and (some of) the acting is strong...they just weren't working with a script that could make the most of their talents.As the other critics here have said,Lacey Chabert's performance was particularly strong.Seeing her as a wise-beyond-her-years child in Party of Five,a high school ditz in Mean Girls,and now a very convincing seductive siren/prostitute in The Pleasure Drivers serves to prove her versatility and talent as an actress.Meat Loaf does what he can with what little role he has...a trailer dwelling drug addled hepatitis sufferer...and does it pretty well.Angus McFayden is definitely solid as a paranoid college professor with a crumbling marriage and an Oedipal complex,who hits the road with Chaberts' character.Lauren Holly and Angelo Spizzirri fall behind as a caretaker and the mentally afflicted man under her care,which is not to say they are not talented...again,they weren't working with much in Haynes' script.
Sekula might actually be a good director...you just can't quite tell since he was directing a good cast that had a subpar script.Too bad.