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A comic tale of three would-be entrepreneurs who set out to invent a rocket belt. The clash of their mismatched personalities soon dissolves the business into a morass of recriminations and retaliations, kidnapping, and murder in this parable of American dreams and delusions. Written by
Actor Paul Schneider turns his hand to directing, for this, his first and only time. With the big star pull (at least now) of Paul Giamatti and a premise along the lines of inventing rocket belts (I think they've been referred to as 'jet-packs' over here) and seen in Bond movie(s), you'd think this would be better known.
Or, at least available. I saw it on Film 4 and Radio Times online couldn't be bothered to give it a rating even and provided only the skimpiest of plot outlines. But it seems to be available via Amazon as region 1 DVD only, precluding the majority.
It started out OK, when it was vaguely predictable. Some guys (three) seem to phone each other up and suddenly meet and next thing they're moving into an industrial unit to test their invention. Apart from some interesting and nicely diverting fantasy sequences, it's a mess. You don't care for any of them, Giamatti shouts obscenities all the time and Billy Crudup looks uncomfortable. My mind lost interest and before long concentration had melted and I wanted it to end. I don't really know where the story went, if at all and the ending was vague and stupid. Apparently, there's kidnapping and betrayal when someone steals the only rocket belt in existence....
With bursts of inappropriate opera singing as background music, one could tell that Schneider is attempting satire and humour but that's completely smashed by an insensitive and heavy hand. It's no wonder that this one-time director realised his mistake and went straight back to acting!, while Giamatti must have shuffled it out of his CV.
My 2/10, rather than just one, is for some of the performances and I'm sure some people would find it endearing and no doubt, amusing and all that. But at nearly two hours it's just too long and any attempts to stay afloat whilst watching it is as likely as keeping those rocket belts in the air for any length of time. Disappointing
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