Worth A Look: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 39.39%
Total Crap: 42.42%
3 reviews, 15 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
Although Deuces Wild certainly qualifies as a grade-A B-movie hoot, I'm guessing the filmmakers were shooting for something other than unintentional giggles. When you're not spotting scenes and cliches from other movies, you'll be laughing your head off at the oh-so-serious tone put forth by the bland and uninteresting cast.Apparently somebody out there was just positive that what American Cinema now needs is a movie that can be described in the form of the following equation:
"Any movie that makes you giggle this much can't be ALL bad!"
(West Side Story - the music) + half of the Sopranos cast + (A Bronx Tale - a good script) + (the large-cast-acting-poorly aspect of The Outsiders) + Malcolm in the Middle as The Beav.
The plot is nothing more than a dutiful conglomeration of all the "greaser boy" cliches, with the Brooklyn-based "Deuces" gang acting as self-appointed protectors of their beloved neighborhood. The Deuces of course have bad blood with the rival "Vipers" gang, which is decidedly inconvenient since the two cadres live literally across the street from each other. (In one hilarious scene, a Deuce refuses to cross the street for fear of earning some Viper wrath.) If you're determined to sit through the whole affair, you'll come across:
-The "head Deuce" Leon (as played with more gusto than the movie deserves by Stephen Dorff) whose violent tactics and cold-heartedness are (of course) borne of misplaced nobility and former tragedy.
-The concerned neighborhood priest, played by Vincent Pastore. Yes, Big P*ssy of Sopranos fame as a mumble-mouthed priest! I swear this movie is not a comedy.
-The "Gee whiz! Can I rumble with you guys??" kid who inevitably has a drunken, abusive father (for one scene anyway) and acts as the Deuce's pie-eyed mascot.
-The calm yet intimidating local crime boss, although casting average joe Matt Dillon as a scary mafioso is more amusing than effective.
-The disaffected "bad girl" who has a Deuce for a boyfriend and a Viper for a brother. Thanks a lot, Shakespeare.
-Various low-rent criminals, devious hechmen, ineffectual cops, and Sesame Street-ish citizens.
One of the glaring questions in this movie of teenage brutality (and stupidity) is quite simple Where are the parents? Our answer comes in the form of a shrieking Deborah Harry who ambles around the set crying and crooning Christmas carols. To be fair, Leon also has a mother wandering about, but she's as drunk as her neighbor is insane.
Through some freak aberration of nature, 1958 Brooklyn apparently housed not one father. The teens just hang about drinking soda pops, waiting for someone to run in the room screaming about "Johnny jumped Jimmy! Deuces, come quick!"
How wacky is Deuces Wild?
Though the gang is called the Deuces, their trademark tattoo displays two dice in snake eyes postition. (What "deuce" has to do with snake eyes dice is way beyond me.) Forgive me if I'm not impressed by a street gang who doesn't know the difference between ONE and TWO. Characters constantly make reference to how HOT the summer is, yet nobody thinks to take off these think leather jackets...and nobody remembers to sweat.
One of the more damning aspects of Deuces Wild (aside from the wretched chop-shop editing techniques and pointless use of "random slo-mo" shots) is quite simply that nearly every actor onscreen is indistuingishable from the one next to him. Dorff is intense and frothing as the beleaguered Leon, while Brad Renfro is fairly whiny and drab as his little brother-in-arms.
Norman Reedus (as main villain Marco) sneers and glowers in all the right spots, but offers very little in actual screen presence. Fairuza Balk offers a few sparks here and there, but the intense actress is woefully miscast as someone who wears poodle skirts. Various familiar young actors pop up from time to time, but if you can distinguish anything of substance that is contributed by James Franco, Johnny Knoxville or the monotone Balthazar Getty, you might be looking a LOT harder than I did.
Fans of TV's Malcolm in the Middle may notice Frankie Muniz in the cast, and the kid does the best he can, but there's nothing for him in this movie aside from whimper, stare, and adulate the Deuces. In an effort to include actors from every television network in the universe, Pastore is joined by two of his fellow Sopranos performers: Drea De Matteo reprises her role as "unappreciated girlfriend" while Louis Lombardi waddles around the film as a low-rent criminal in a body cast.
Director Scott Kalvert takes a step back from his last movie, the stark Basketball Diaries. Character development is all but non-existent, plot threads are casually introduced and then dropped and the movie feels as if it could be played in reverse order without losing any cohesion.
Though the title implies that this guys are "wild", this movie contains precisely two "rumbles". They're both satisfying in a boxing-match sort of way, but that's hardly enough to earn your eight bucks. The movie should be titled The 'Get Off My Fucking Turf' Boys.If you're at all familiar with the more historical cinematic antics of the "juvenile delinquint", you'll have a ball with Deuces Wild. Not because it's a well-made and intelligent movie, but because it plays like the world's most straight-faced spoof
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4916&reviewer=128
originally posted: 05/12/02 06:46:28