|Index||7 reviews in total|
This is a mostly flat movie that, I'm sure, read much better as a
screenplay. It is trying so hard to be quirkily absurd that it does
itself injury, and the collection of silly characters are mostly just
going through the motions. Mediocre performances in most roles lend a
sense of Acting 101 homework to the whole proceedings, events unfold
without any build-up and even normally decent actors have lowed their
game here. One plot line is so stereotypically racist as to be
offensive, even with a slightly redeeming plot twist that might have
Timothy Olyphant is the only standout here, organically building a character that actually interested me. He impressed me enough that now I will look for him in other projects. Christina Ricci, always watchable, is given little in the script to support her nutty character. Still, without these two, No Vacancy would be pretty unwatchable.
I liked this film - it seemed to be trying to copy the style of 'Short Cuts' although with a much lighter plot (and no where near as intricate, complicated - or good). Not a laugh out-loud, screaming, rip-roaring comedy etc... - but, a snapshot into the lives of some weird (but not totally unbelievable) people. I had no idea what the film was going to be like when I rented it. I saw a small summary, and did not know it was a comedy - this is most probably why I didn't expect to be laughing all the time - and didn't mind that I wasn't laughing all the time. If you are expecting a 'Benny Hill', slap-stick type of film, then steer well clear - you will be mightily disappointed - but, if you are looking for a light hearted look into "the morning after booking into a motel" then give it a go. A good film for an evening in with your dog. OK, I admit it - I had a bum Friday night without a date!
Basically what happens is Christina Ricci and Timothy Olyphant fall in love then there are a buch of people running around and then people fall in the pool which is obviously hilarious. Then Robert Wagner shows up as a pimp which is supposed to be funny just by the fact that it's Robert Wagner.. No Vacany, I believe, is supposed to be a quirky comedy but it falls completely flat and isn't even amusing or entertaining, let alone funny or quirky.. The smooth lounge music soundtrack is maybe supposed to make it hip but this and a zillion other bad elements painfully mark this film as being directed by someone under 30 and written by someone around 20. Bad. really really bad. Avoid.
To the best of my knowledge this film never opened in the US and there's reason for that, it pretty weak. No Vacancy is a screwball comedy with the emphasis on screwball and very little comedy. The gags are tired and stupid with most of the characters cardboard, despite an attempt to develop them. Christina Ricci does her usual professional job but how she got dragged into this mess is a mystery. It's the kind of film where all the characters start chasing each other around (Christina is spared this) in a ridiculous attempt to build up some momentum. Sad.
I saw "No Vacancy" on tape by accident. I haven't laughed this hard since high school. It's one of the most imaginative, non-pretentiously smart, fast-paced, original comedies independent film industry has ever produced! I absolutely loved it! Can't wait to see it in theaters again!
No Vacancy is 83 minutes of bad writing, bad acting, and a fiasco of a
film. This 1997 release, which I'm sure was a
straight-to-DVD-budget-rack special, stars Christina Ricci (in her
heaviest film appearance ever), Timothy Olyphant (of HBO's "Deadwood"),
Lolita Davidovich (in a role so overacting you'll want to run from the
room screaming at the sight of her herbal-masked face), and Robert
Wagner. How the film attracted anyone to sign on to act in it escapes
me. It's a true disaster.
Set in a motel of misfits, the movie's cross-cut edits and haphazard structure only serves to make it more annoying. I really regret every second of watching this mess.
Viewer beware! Watch a good Christina Ricci effort like "Opposite of Sex" and pass on this turkey. I squandered 83 minutes of my life. Save yours!!!
The good news is that "No Vacancy" is not totally unwatchable. I
managed to get through the WHOLE thing by breaking it into two days of
viewing. This alone makes it better than "Lenny the Wonderdog" and many
Back in 1995, a young Robert Rodriquez made a fairly entertaining anthology film called "Four Rooms", the setting is a hotel and the four stories take place in different rooms of that hotel. Marius Balchunas thought the idea so compelling that he appropriated it wholesale and wrote a script structured around the same premise. His one concession to originality was to change the setting from a hotel to a motel. Unfortunately Balchunas did not pay enough attention to the credits of "Four Rooms" and failed to see that its real strength was using four writer/directors (one was Tarintino), a different director for each room.
"No Vacancy" has three main stories. Lillian (Christina Ricci) wakes up in her room to find that she has spent the night with Luke (Timothy Olyphant) instead of her finance. Reynoldo (Joaquin de Almeida), the motel manager, is sizing up his daughter's Anglo boyfriend. Two seemingly non-actor personal friends (or enemies) of Balchunas are trying to figure out a way to pay for the escort service they used the night before. There are a few other quirky characters but they add almost nothing to the mix. Robert Wagner appears at one point playing Harvey Keitel's "The Wolf" character from "Pulp Fiction"; Balchunas cleverly (Duh!) disguises this identity theft by naming the character Mr. Tangerine, apparently more homage to Tarintino (insert "Reservoir Dogs" here). Because the low budget did not permit any decent music or original score, Balchunas had to rely on lounge music, possibly borrowed from old episodes of "Surfside Six". There is no danger of a CD release.
Joaquin de Almeida's stuff is really well done, it would probably hold up well in a good movie but looks even better here because of the awful stuff that surrounds it.
Ricci's performance is nothing to write home about although that is probably due to the lame script. But "No Vacancy" is a must see for her fans because of her physical appearance. This was her mega-fat phase and her outfits reveal a lot that I didn't really need to see. But "No Vacancy" is worth seeing just to fully appreciate the miracle physical transformation that took place between it and her next film, "Sleepy Hollow". I defy anyone without prior knowledge to detect that it is the same actress. Tim Burton must have locked her down for a few months of food withdrawal and exercise before he started filming. It helped some that she wore period costumes in "Sleepy Hollow", but her face has narrowed significantly and she has gotten actual definition back in her features.
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