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Jersey Guy

Castle Hill Prods.

NEW YORK -- Yet another in a seemingly endless series of low-budget indies being released every week to keep theaters occupied until the summer blockbusters come along, this debut feature, like so many of its brethren, is more reflective of good intentions than actual talent. The tale of a "Jersey Guy" who faces a moral and romantic dilemma in having to choose between his loyal girlfriend of seven years and a beautiful Manhattan model who inexplicably finds him irresistible, Elia Zois' film explores the same class tensions between Manhattanites and the bridge-and-tunnel crowd as did "Saturday Night Fever", only without that film's wit or John Travolta.

Jack (Steve Parlavecchio) is a 25-year-old living in New Jersey with his parents, working as a nursing home administrator and still unwilling to marry his patient girlfriend, Susan (Stacie Mistysyn). One night, he and his uncle venture into the rarefied environs of Manhattan to go to an exclusive Soho nightclub, where he meets Samantha (Jill Wolfe), a gorgeous model who takes an immediate shine to Jack despite his plaid shirt. Soon Jack, clad in a spiffy new black suit, is living a double life, lying to his girlfriend at every opportunity so that he can watch Sam's photo shoots and go with her to parties in the Hamptons. Eventually, of course, he must make a choice.

Jack's dilemma might have been more interesting if it had been rendered in more credible fashion or explored in more than surface detail. As depicted, it's hard to understand what a beautiful model would see in him -- it has something to do with the nobility of his profession, even though he spends most of his time trying to prevent an elderly woman from pulling the fire alarm -- and his duplicity, seemingly practiced without internal tension, makes him quite unsympathetic. Parlavecchio is unable to provide the depth or charisma that would allow us to more fully identify with his character's plight.

Neither the bland script by father-and-son team Christ and Elia Zois nor the latter's stilted direction are able to bring much life to the tale, and the performances, with the exception of Arthur Nascarella's sensitive turn as Jack's supportive father, are similarly unexceptional.

Film review: 'Bandwagon'

NEW YORK -- John Schultz's debut feature is an entertaining look at the contemporary music scene and the travails that a struggling garage band must go through on the road in order to make it.

Although more of an industry calling card than a candidate for significant specialized boxoffice, this breezy, lighthearted work reveals talent both in front of and behind the camera. Still, as "That Thing You Do!" illustrated, audience interest in such music-themed pics seems to be minimal.

"Bandwagon" follows the adventures of Circus Monkey, a group of ragtag musicians who have taken it on the road throughout the South to make their reputation.

The band consists of Tony (Lee Holmes), the high-strung lead vocalist and songwriter; Eric (Steve Parlavecchio), the bass player, who would just as soon get into a fight as play music; Charlie (Matthew Hennessey), the long-winded drummer, and Wynn (indie stalwart Kevin Corrigan), the neurotic guitarist.

Shepherding the band through their paces is Linus Tate (Doug MacMillan, also the lead singer for the band the Connells), who plays a little-known rock "legend" with an uncanny feel for talent and what it takes to get ahead.

The film follows the band through their haphazard formation and their adventures on the road in a series of episodes that vary in credibility and which follow the generic formula for similarly themed pics, but director and screenwriter Schultz has a good sense of characterization and a knack for realistic-sounding yet quirky dialogue, and he has captured the atmosphere of the indie rock scene with accuracy and affection. Even more impressive is the music, which is quite catchy and would not be out of place on the MTV playlist.

BANDWAGON

Cinepix Film Properties

Director, screenplay John Schultz

Producers Alyson Poole, John Schultz

Co-producer Michael Shevloff

Director of photography Shawn Maurer

Editor John Pace

Music John Kendall

Color/stereo

Cast:

Wynn Knapp Kevin Corrigan

Tony Ridge Lee Holmes

Charlie Flagg Matthew Hennessey

Eric Ellwood Steve Parlavecchio

Linus Tate Doug MacMillan

Running time -- 99 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites