Uneven but funny.Empire Records is locally owned and operated, inhabited by the usual gang of losers that teens are porttrayed as. There's Lucas (Rory Cochrane), who's the intellectual of the group. He talks intelligently, anyway. He's got sort of a beatnik vibe going. There's Debra (Robin Tunney), the angsty one. She shaves her head. There's Gina (Renee Zellweger), the shallow hottie. Corey (Liv Tyler) is headed to Harvard. She's the girl next door type. A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) is in love with Corey. He's the guy next door type. Mark (Ethan Embry) is the goofy headbanger doofus. Their boss is the beleagured Joe (Anthony LaPaglia).
Joe lets Lucas close one night. Lucas finds plans to turn Empire Records into a MusicTown, sort of a generic Musicland/Sam Goody hybrid (as if they could be any more generic). Lucas, thinking he can win enough money to buy the store from it's owner, promptly heads to Atlantic City with $9,000 in cash from the store, and loses it all.
The rest of the movie deals with attempts to cover the missing cash and getting enough back to make up for it being gone. Sort of.
The cash thing isn't really dealt with until the film's final reel in an implausible conclusion. The rest of the film is just another of the small-budgeted talkers, where there are little vignettes of action with snappy dialogue, but nothing really moves the plot along or resolves a story.
That's not to say it's a bad film.
I liked Empire Records, because I'm a fan of low-budget talkies. Some of the jokes were lame, but the dialogue was usually quite funny. Fine performances from the cast, with Cochrane standing out the most.
A decent rental.Attention Rex Manning fans, to your left you will notice a shoplifter being chased by our night manager Lucas. This young man will be caught, dipped in a vat of hot oil and served to our first one hundred customers. Just another tasty treat from the gang here at Empire Records!