by Brian McKay
Although I'm in my thirties, I am still able to enjoy a well-crafted teen/young adult comedy -- key words "well crafted". This does not mean genius filmmaking, but merely a competent script and the equally competent execution thereof. Trying to cash in on the cult popularity of more competent films like "Clerks" and "Mall Rats" comes "Empire records", a lame Gen-X "comedy" that falls completely flat. When they were trying to copy those other films, they somehow missed the fact that the formula they are ripping off actually had some funny jokes and clever dialogue to push things along.The story, such as it is, is that "Joe" (Anthony La Paglia, a mediocre character actor on his best day, and when he's the "star" of the film, you know you're in trouble) manages Empire Records, an independent store where the employees enjoy a laid back atmosphere where they can throw on loud music and start dancing or moshing every five minutes (Which they do, to the point of tedium-ad-fucking-nauseum).
"The Empire Strikes Out"
But of course, the record store is about to be sold out to a generic chain, which will destroy this festive minimum wage party paradise forever. When one of the genius employees learns of this impending fate, he decides to take 9000 bones from the store till and go gamble it in Atlantic City so he can get enough money to save the store. Needless to say, he loses it on the first toss of the dice, leaving the next 90 minutes of the film to try and find a way to get the money back.
The young cast of record store employees includes some fairly well-known faces, including Liv Tyler as the sweet and innocent babe, Renee Zelwegger as the vapid, sex-obsessed babe, and Robin Tunney as the rebel-without-a-clue (or hair) babe. Most of the male side are pretty much unknown, at least to me. Rory Cochrane is the genius who decided to gamble the bosses money away, and who spends the remainder of the film being the "intellectual" one, although nothing that ever leaves his mouth is at all intelligent, clever, insightful, or funny. Neither is anything else in the film. It's one of these dismal teen angst comedies without much angst or comedy because you simply don't give a shit about any of these boring pretty young people who think they are so ultra-hip. Liv Tyler looks gorgeous, but she can't act worth a shit and I honestly wish she would quit trying. Go back to modeling, bitch, and shut your pie hole. Renee Zelwegger is trying too hard to be like another actress even more mediocre than herself, Joey Lauren Adams (in fact, I thought it was her at first). I don't really blame the kids, though. With a script as shitty as this one, they never had a chance.Go rent "Clerks", "Mallrats", or even "American Pie", but don't waste your time with this piece of shit. Only if you're stoned enough to find it funny, or if it's worth it to you to sit through 90 minutes of crap to see 30 seconds of Liv Tyler in her underwear, will you find it worth your while.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1900&reviewer=258
originally posted: 07/23/01 16:58:42