1 item from 2001
Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, "Viva Las Nowhere" is just funny and well-executed enough to rope in savvy audiences in the mood for a country music black comedy.
Highlighted by Daniel Stern's three-dimensional portrayal of the hapless lead and Patricia Richardson's dual role as twin sisters, the low-budget Franchise Pictures project is directed with economy and verve by Jason Bloom ("Bio-Dome").
With a comically on-target and abruptly mood-shifting screenplay by Richard Uhlig and Steve Seitz, "Viva" is set in the geographical center of the country, where Stern's would-be songwriter-singer Frank Jacobs owns a motel that has few customers.
When he helps a boozy and attractive singer (Lacey Kohl) after she has been dumped by her partner (James Caan) -- a sleazier veteran of the music scene -- Frank starts down a dark road that leads to several intentional and accidental fatalities, and many suspicious customers showing up at the motel.
Richardson ("Ulee's Gold") makes for a great de facto antagonist as Frank's viciously skeptical and jealous wife, and then later as that character's duplicitous twin. With a Willie Nelson-like mane and echoing some of his hard-hearted characters from the past, Caan is in top form.
But it's Stern who brings the movie to full life with an enthusiastic but unshow-offy performance.
VIVA LAS NOWHERE
In association with Samaha Prods.
Director: Jason Bloom
Screenwriters: Richard Uhlig, Steve Seitz
Executive producers: Elie Samaha, Andrew Stevens
Director of photography: James Glennon
Production designer: Alexander Hammond
Editor: Luis Colina
Costume designer: Robert Moore
Music: Andrew Cross
Casting: Elizabeth Marx
Frank Jacobs: Daniel Stern
Helen Jacobs/Wanda: Patricia Richardson
Julie Mitchell: Lacey Kohl
Marguerite: Sherry Stringfield
Roy: James Caan
Running time -- 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: R »
1 item from 2001