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In Santa Monica, a woman becomes alarmingly concerned over her fiancé's unnaturally close relationship with his teenage daughter. In Westwood, a sexual act turns into a psychological obsession for a young woman. In West Hollywood, a gay couple buys a young daughter and attempts to mold her to fit their lifestyle. In Holmby Hills, maladjusted kids and their equally maladjusted nanny play murderous games. In Sherman Oaks, a rape victim faces her violator. In these five stories, one thing is clear, everything is taken to extremes in California. Written by
Well, sorta. Some of the characters in this film reminded me of some of the ones in "Pulp Fiction". That and the fact that "Pulp Fiction" told different stories as well and would occasionally make me laugh.
In "Burning Palms", we get five tales that all take place around Los Angeles. The synopsis states that they all interlace but that's a crock, don't believe it. Only one character, Dr. Shelly (Doherty), shows up in more than one story... and the patients of hers never even crossed paths. I couldn't think of a better place to set an anthology film than L.A. (well, maybe Las Vegas, but that would have cost a lot more) because of all the weird goings-on and the very eclectic mix of people they have running around there.
Let's break this thing down and see what we got here, shall we?
Segment 1 - "The Green-Eyed Monster" - Dedra (Pike) and Dennis (McDermott) await the arrival of Dennis' daughter, Chloe (Meade). Apon arrival, Dedra can't get over the fact that Dennis and Chloe are close. Very close. Probably the most disturbing tale but unfortunately, the end result wasn't exactly the pay-off I was hoping for as it left some things open.
Segment 2 - "This Little Piggy" - Chad (Hoffman) and Ginny (Chung) are your average couple but Ginny feels a little insecure because Chad likes big breasts -- so, she agrees to a sex act to hopefully put her mind at ease. It does not. In fact, it drives her completely bonkers. This one is my second favorite segment of the movie, a very funny tale that would have had a better shock ending had they cut one short scene from it.
Segment 3 - "Buyers Remorse" - Tom (Mount) and Geri (Macdissi) are a gay couple in West Hollywood who want to adopt a child. They acquire a little African-American girl (who they callously name Mahogany) via the Black Market. There's something off about her and these two guys obviously shouldn't be in possession of a child. The story itself is not all that great, but the dialog and antics of Mount and Macdissi are, which more than make up for it for me. Ending could have used a little polishing as well, but again, I'm not complaining -- this one kept me entertained and laughing.
Segment 4 - "Kangaroo Court" - Mary Jane (Bell) looks after three tween boys in a mansion, complete with maids (Barraza, Vega). When something of value to one of the maids goes missing, the brattiest kid turns the living room into a courtroom and stages his own "Court TV" (only real) to get to the bottom of things. Lake Bell is the only reason to watch here, she's got some pretty funny lines and the big reveal at the end wasn't all that shocking or disturbing.
Segment 5 - "Man Eater" - The second most disturbing tale opens with the rape of Sarah Cotton (Saldana). And that's not even the disturbing part. She finds a wallet in her home of one Robert Kane (Stahl), the man who violated her. She tracks him down and has plans of her own...
Overall, this was a fun one to watch. It held my interest all the way through and I had some good laughs throughout. The film would have flowed better had they put the stories in this order: Kangaroo Court, This Little Piggy, The Green-Eyed Monster, Buyers Remorse and then Man Eater. It's important in anthology films to have your weakest link first... in order to build up each story, as they get more and more shocking. And it would have rated higher if they would have connected the stories somehow, it could have easily been done. As I said before, Doherty does show up in two of the segments and she was highly annoying in both. I do recommend it as long as you're not easily offended by sex acts (Buyers Remorse) -- there is no nudity in that segment but it is heavily implied and more. For more reviews, visit www.soveryterry.com Final Grade: B-
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