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1 item from 2000

Film review:'Held Up'

12 May 2000 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

A low-budget comedy with limited appeal, "Held Up" has earned a modest theatrical push from distributor Trimark in light of lead Jamie Foxx's higher profile after appearing in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday".

Directed with economical blandness by Steve Rash ("Son in Law") and routinely scripted by Jeff Eastin, "Held Up" is a fish-out-of-water project that funnyman Foxx has an easy time with. In fact, no one works very hard to get laughs in this hostages-and-robbers-and-cops gagfest that features such familiar actors as Barry Corbin, John Cullum and Jake Busey -- and it's not all right.

But then, "Held Up" could be a whole lot worse, one suspects. Out for a spin to the Grand Canyon in his newly acquired vintage car with nagging but beautiful wife Rae (Nia Long), Michael Foxx) stops to get gas, and things go screwy. In a lame narrative shortcut, Rae finds out -- through the nosy interruptions and unwanted interjections from the station operator Jack (Cullum), heard over the gas pump's intercom -- that Michael spent their "house money" to buy the car.

Rae has a tantrum and goes to catch a plane home to Chicago. Then Michael's car is stolen, and he's stuck squirming with Jack. Before the law can come to his aid in the shape of sheriff's deputy Beaumont (Jake Busey), three inept robbers enter the gas station/convenience store. Thinking at first they are there to help him, Michael and the other customers are soon held at gunpoint, but Jack's register is nearly empty.

With an occasional laugh, but not many high points to speak of, the movie unfolds as a farcical hostage drama with a hick town backdrop. Of the three gunmen, handsome Rodrigo (Eduardo Yanez) is left behind in the store and continues the standoff when all of his captives know he's not a bad guy. Unfortunately, the subplot that has migrant worker Rodrigo trying to smuggle his father's dead body back to Mexico in a giant fruit crate is obnoxiously insensitive.

While regretful Rae waits in the Las Vegas airport hoping that Michael will come to her before her plane leaves, the sheriff (Barry Corbin) and many local bubbas with guns take aim at the gas station, believing that innocent Michael is as much a culprit as Rodrigo. Also in the store are a desert flower (Sarah Paulson) attracted to Rodrigo, a dumb/smart kid Rusty (Sam Gifaldi), who thinks Michael is Puff Daddy, and a spacey magazine moocher Michael Shamus Wiles).

Nowhere near as risky in language or visuals as it could have been, the PG-13-rated "Held Up" ultimately squanders a chance to have some worthwhile fun, with the likable Foxx off-screen for long stretches and the level of filmmaking in general not rising much above perfunctory.


Trimark Pictures

In association with Minds Eye Pictures

Director: Steve Rash

Screenwriter: Jeff Eastin

Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Jonathon Komack Martin, Stokely Chaffin

Executive producers: Mark Amin, Devin Dewalt

Director of photography: David A. Makin

Production designer: Rick Roberts

Editor: Jonathan Chibnall

Costume designer: Eduardo Castro

Music: Robert Folk

Casting: Mary Vernieu, Anne McCarthy



Michael: Jamie Foxx

Rae: Nia Long

Pembry: Barry Corbin

Jack: John Cullum

Beaumont: Jake Busey

Biker: Michael Shamus Wiles

Rodrigo: Eduardo Yanez

Mary: Sarah Paulson

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13


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