A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
In a dark and decadent area of São Paulo, the exiled Americans Sinatra and his son Paul own a brothel. Paul is a compulsive gambler addicted in cocaine and his father is married with the former prostitute Angie, and they have a little son. When a client is killed by his wife in their establishment, they find a suitcase with drugs. In the night that they have scheduled a negotiation with African buyers, their African liaison dies while having sex with the travesty Nazda. Sinatra proposes to the Nigerian dishwasher of the brothel, Wemba, to travel to the harbor of Santos, close the business with the drug dealers and in return he would receive a large amount. Wemba accepts but while returning to his car in the harbor, he is attacked by two smalltime thieves and passes out. His lack of contact with Sinatra and Paul leads to a sequence of misunderstandings with a tragic end. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Filmed on a budget of six million, this movie made forty nine thousand worldwide and it's not hard to see why. Plot holes the size of Manhattan and a cast of characters that are risible to say the least. The sleaze factor is high (but then who gives a damn if the movie is any good - which it ain't!) Scott Glenn and Brendan Fraser as a father/son duo who own a brothel in Sao Paulo, who enlist the aid of a Nigerian dishwasher to sell a suitcase full of cocaine to fellow Nigerian gangsters. Glenn hands the suitcase over to the dishwasher and sends him on his merry way to do the deal and bring back the money with only the dishwasher's word that he will return. Hmm... Bound to be a doublecross there. Well, guess what? There ain't. And the gangsters hand over the money with no argument, even though they are armed to the teeth, the dishwasher is completely alone and unarmed. Okaaaaay... There's also an old geezer of a fortune teller in the mix, who tells the grandmother of a girl who has absolutely no purpose in the story that her granddaughter is going to die. And she dies. The fortune teller drifts in and out of the story for no apparent reason (is he symbolic of something? Only the writer/director knows.)
The dishwasher is mugged but the muggers overlook the backpack full of money he is carrying. Okaaaay... Various complications, including a shootout between Brendan, Glenn and a transvestite who gave such great sex at the start of the movie that the original Nigerian scheduled to make the drug deal dropped dead. Hmm... (Only the writer/director knows.) An unbelievably convoluted plot that careens all over the place with zero credibility.
Where the performances are concerned, Fraser does his hardest to flesh out his thoroughly dislikable character, as does Glenn, who has his legs chopped out from under him by the writer/director's unsympathetic backstory. Catalina Moreno as the love interest for both father and son gives a credible performance, though she has little to do, aside from being abused and insulted by Brendan. The one good performance in the movie comes from Mos Def as the dishwasher. Nicely understated.
The movie was made on the streets of Sao Paulo, which is five times the size of Paris, but might as well have been made on a couple of backstreets in Brooklyn or Queens for all the scope of the movie. The contrast between the wealthier neighborhoods of the real Sao Paulo and the impoverished backstreets fails to appear in this flick. The dialog is graphic in the extreme, which only produces guffaws of laughter at the writer/director's expectation of shock value in the viewer. If the story was stronger (or more credible) the dialog might have worked. As it is, one merely chuckles at the naughty words.
This reviewer virtually NEVER consigns a DVD to the garbage bin (paid good money for the damn thing!) but one viewing of this waste of time was enough. Watching the interviews with the people involved in the making of this movie, one has to wonder what they ever saw in it in the first place. As mentioned at the beginning of this review, it cost six million to make and only earned forty nine thousand at the box office. Those people who paid forty nine thousand would now like their money back.
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