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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 35.29%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 5.88%
Total Crap: 17.65%

1 review, 11 user ratings

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Have Love, Will Travel
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by Erik Childress

"A Dancer Without Clothes In A Savage Land"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 CINEVEGAS FILM FESTIVAL: Anytime one travels to Vegas, a walk along the streets will present its visitor with the prospect of love, albeit not of the free kind. Pamphlets with the patented two hand smacks and an offer of dancing love just a phone call away amuse tourists and tempt lonely, horny men. What exists on the other end of that number though? Is it the image of supermodel sex staring back at you? Could it be the danger associated with the crapshoot of an illicit proposition? Maybe it’s just the promise of success that self-conscience males have trouble achieving when going about it the old-fashioned way. Writer/director Dan Peterson takes us to the other side of that phone call, giving us a thoroughly detailed and fascinating viewpoint of the pleasure givers and their protectors which may give you further pause before picking up to dial. And not just for the reasons you already think.

The film opens with one of these scenarios. Eve (Roxanne Arvizu) shows up to a guy’s room. He pays her the “show fee” which is just for showing up. The real show begins once the “tip” is applied and when that money is exchanged, “it’s all good.” Unless you’re the dude who may find himself cheated if he only coughs up a couple Benjamins. Eve’s “driver” is Sonny (Jarrod Crawford), a no-nonsense bodyguard who really wants to try a different kind of act. At one of his auditions he is approached by Nathan (Chandler Rylko), who tries to offer up the struggling actor’s mantra of looking at for one another and is instead offered a chance to try Sonny’s line of work.

Whitney (Tae Davies) is also just becoming a part of the business. Needing the extra money for bills, she reluctantly agrees to do a ride-along one night with some friendly and eager girls she meets while waiting tables. After overcoming disgust and shyness (in that order), she sees the easy money in the gig even though her prudish attitude is hardly the one guys want to see enter their room. Nathan is teamed up with her and these two awkward rookies begin to learn the ropes from Eve and Sonny, seasoned veterans by now so numb to the job that all its quirks and hazards are just the price of doing business. It doesn’t help if you happen to fall in love though.

Dan Peterson used to be one of these drivers and outside of holding court with him for a weekend to hear every anecdote, this film is a more than acceptable substitute. At nearly two hours, there are certainly aspects of the individual characters that could have been better explored, but the fascination helps move the film like a freight train. The Whitney/Nathan dynamic takes a while to get to, so there’s some crucial scenes left out within their second act to fully satisfy their eventual choices, but it works as our outsider view into this world even while we’d rather get back to Sonny and Eve. Jarrod Crawford is a real find, delivering superior work as the tough guy who has seen it all and must keep all emotions in check to protect not only his girl, but himself. Roxanne Arvizu is remarkably sexy upon first glance and slyly ahead of her client and us in the opening scene, but reveals the inevitable vulnerability for a woman in her position when she comes face-to-face with someone ahead of her own game. Arvizu’s scene with Billy Gallo as this frighteningly astute customer could have been extended into a very tense stage duet incorporating all of the film’s themes without missing a beat.

Peterson’s script does a terrific job of establishing this closed-door portion of society and then slowly feeding us the answers to questions we’re eager to know. It’s funny in its nonchalance and scary as reality creeps in. Whitney’s declining arc from good girl to morality negotiator is a pretty uneventful waltz and an occasional shrill speechifying from Davies keeps us questioning how she’d ever be a success in this business. She is a beauty to be sure but the deeper implications of what’s under that skin are what calls for interesting drama. Anyone can go into a gentleman’s club, meet a nice girl and pay for some fun. But it’s the controlled atmosphere that makes it so. It’s something altogether to be on the outside ordering room service or being the one delivering it. The potential tragedy of finding yourself alone in this world is something each party has to ask if its worth the extra bucks.

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originally posted: 07/20/07 01:56:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/20/16 Sally Epstein Loved it! 5 stars
2/07/12 Joseph Ruiz Great film. Loved the direction the film went. 5 stars
9/26/08 Mark Mason The cast are all real hookers, shocker? 1 stars
7/15/07 ross hartman heard tae is a hooker! 1 stars
6/25/07 Joe Defina Best film at cinevegas! Billy Gallo was Awesome ! 5 stars
6/18/07 Wes Ramsey Tae is hot. Would've been better if got a hotter girl than Roxanne. 2 stars
6/18/07 Robbie Fields awesome film, would love to see what this guy could do with a bigger budget 5 stars
6/14/07 jennifer bradley terrific 5 stars
6/14/07 lauren palmer Loved It!!!! 5 stars
6/14/07 Steven Lowy Great 5 stars
6/11/07 Ross Hartman Sucks! 1 stars
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