Someone is dognapping the canine citizens of Chem City, Texas! Two pre-teen girls overcome danger and conspiracies as they set out to solve the crime and administer justice with the help of...
See full summary »
Someone is dognapping the canine citizens of Chem City, Texas! Two pre-teen girls overcome danger and conspiracies as they set out to solve the crime and administer justice with the help of a magical bracelet. As the girls battle the Mob, a punk gang and a crooked cop they learn something about friendship, courage and hanging with the right crowd. Written by
The producers advertised the film as being made using the "Community Model of Film Making," in which rather than paying a cast and crew, the cast and crew pay the filmmakers for the privilege of being involved in a major motion picture production. See more »
PASS THE POPCORN: REVIEW The Bracelet of Bordeaux Yes, I Laughed Greg Wright | 14.07.09 Posted in Reviews, New on DVD, DVD Feature, DVD
Interested in a little goofy Saturday morning fun with your kids? The Bracelet of Bordeaux is goofy enough and fun enough, and it's even fairly family friendly. But it might just overstay its welcome.
Helen has just moved to Chem City, Texas with her dad Lubbock and mom Honey. Upon being greeted at the airport by mile-wide grins, civic-pride singing twins, and a longhorn- festooned Humvee, the three arrive at their new Armadillo Estates home only to find that riverboat-mafia-backed blackmailing punks have dognapped French neighbor Marie's poodle. And stolen Honey's favorite sofa. Papa Lubbock's not into crime-fighting, so after 9-1-1 tells him to take a number, he's off to the oil wells. That leaves Honey to shop, and nerdly Wood Sprout scout Helen and new chum Marie to solve the caper.
With the help, that is, of a magic bracelet once worn by Marie's granny to help the French Resistance burn down a Nazi concentration camp.
The comedy is broad and often funny as first-time writer Frank Eakin and first-time director Casey Kelly kind of lovingly exploit the small Texas town where the film was shot and set. Even though everything's big in Texas, Eakin and Kelly have smartly opted for the small-is- better approach to comedy, gently targeting do-gooder scouting groups, do-less-gooder petroleum manufacturers, jingle-singing twins, surly shopkeepers, and toothless stoop denizens as the subjects of their barbs. Sure, this is kid-level satire that kind of feels like Spongebob Squarepants; but it also feels like many speaking roles may have been filled by Kelly's neighbors playing themselves. So the humor never gets mean, though it often gets kind of stupidas with a sequence in which a doltish dog-mafia stooge feeds Tobasco to the dogs just to hear them pass gas.
Like many low-budget films, the shoot-quick-and-ask-editing-questions-later approach yields some awkward sequences and far too many close-ups without establishing shots to help audiences get oriented with the action. But I frequently found myself chuckling in spite of myself at much of the script's clever wordplay. Kelly also gets appropriately slapsticky performances every member of the cast. As decent as young Ally Claire Carson is as Helen, in fact, I oddly looked forward to what kooky surprise the next bit role had in store. Like the surprising National Anthem moment near the film's end. It's not often in low-budget films that the background action is as interesting as the foreground.
But to be honest, I ended up watching the film's second half at double speedand don't think I missed a thing. At 99 minutes, the premise is probably stretched about 39 minutes too long for adult taste, though I imagine kids will stick with it as they munch on Cheerios and build things with Legos, or whatever it is that kids build things with these days.
The story's primary lessons, though, are a little strange. First, Marie's grandma lectures her about the dangers of being led astray by organizations that pander to childrenthe primary reference here being Hitler Youth, not Wood Sprout Scouts per se. But when grandma describes Hitler as the man who "turned the world upside down," I'm not sure if Eakin has confused Hitler with the Apostle Paul, or whether the film is warning children to be wary of groups like Awana, Whirly Birds, and Jet Cadets for Jesus.
Second, when Marie and Helen go behind grandma's back to employ the Magic Bracelet to break the crime ring and rescue the 'napped dogs, Marie is clearly given the message that it's okay to break rules once in a while in order to serve the greater good. It's a comforting bromide, I suppose, in a post-9-11 world; but isn't such moral relevancy a lot more suitable for adults than for children? They'll learn to compromise their ideals soon enough without encouragement like this.
Bottom line: a pretty darned decent job for a micro-budget DIY production. You probably won't regret renting this for some light weekend entertainment, at least not too much. But I doubt you'll be too eager for a repeat viewing, either.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?