by Greg Muskewitz
Yet another example of art imitating life, where the life story that is being told, isn't even slightly worth the effort of putting it onto celluloid. It's a buddy movie, one prided on being a bit unusual, that is only if you consider the partnership between an Italian straight guy and a Jewish homosexual to write a screenplay unusual. The saddest thing is, how can the movie make an imitation that isn't so bad and so pathetic without having the real life model as an example of those inferior qualities.The thing about "Hit and Runway" is that the people who made this movie, really must not have realized how bad it was. This is like an Ed Wood, Jr. comedy. If you were to take one of Wood's outer-space tales and strip it of the "special effects," of the topic of science-fiction, and the remote locations, these would even bye by Wood standards pretty dull. But director and co-writer Christopher Livingston has the ambition, the naivete and the lack of necessary skills on how to make a movie or arrange a comedy.
"More like 'Flop, so Runaway!'"
The focus of the movie is on the constant bickering of the duo as first Alex (Michael Parducci) tries to get Elliot (Peter Jacobsen) to write a screenplay with him, since Alex has committed to getting a script treatment to the agent of his favorite action movie star by Monday. (The action star --Jagger Stevens-- totally smells of direct-to-video caliber, like the end result of Dolph Lundgren or Jean-Claude van Damme.) The bickering is set to re-adjust to them trying to sit down and write the thing, and the constant conflicts that surface along the way --stereotyping the woman, the gay character, the cliche of having the woman character always a supermodel-type instead of a nerd, etc. Then, of course, there is the difficulties each face in their own lives, Alex and his on-and-off relationship with inspiring nerd Gwen (Judy Prescott) and coming to grips with the idea that he can't write; and for Elliot, the "unappealing, ugly Jew," trying to get a date and hold a steady relationship with a young waiter Joey (Kerr Smith --also in the vampire release this week, "The Forsaken").
The press kits reveals that a lot of (supposed) humor was derived from the relationship Livingston, and his Jewish gay writing partner Jaffe Cohen had. Hmmmm, how unfunny. How pretty plain, if this were all that they could elucidate from their partnership. So therefore the choice of material is already limiting much of what Livingston is going to be able to present in front of the camera, so it should come as no surprise when Livingston, just as the Italian non-writer has no good ideas of his own, that the real version of him behind the camera would have none either. Continuity is played out by having more and more crumpled pieces of paper on the floor to illustrate lack of ideas (how cartoon-ish), or how unfunny it is when Alex's elbow hits the keyboard and erases half of what they've got only for it not be saved or have a back-up disk (how kid-movie-ish), and plenty of other things along those lines.
Apparently "Hit and Runway" won two screenplay awards (one at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, and the other at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen --not that either has very much validity), but I fear it is giving Livingston and Cohen the wrong idea. What they did was not good, and they shouldn't attempt to do it again. The fact that everything that is the basis from their script in the movie is in the end-run the same thing that we are watching, is just pathetic. Alex and Elliot's perfunctory and lame script is Christopher and Joffe's --and so the movie has no chance of reaching beyond the previously set limitations that have been placed upon it. The characterizations are weak and shallow, the development is non-existent, and the idea they provide ceases to be funny --not even a cable access TV station would approve something like that for a pilot.
Jacobson is a passable actor, however, unjustly trying to mimic those Jewish axioms like Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, Todd Solondz, Stanley Tucci (when he plays them), etc. But it doesn't get him very far in a movie where he's completely tied down. Parducci is one of the worst actors I have ever seen in a movie, and judging by his mannerisms, his gestures, his attitude, I would have believed him to be gay or Jacobson's character. The others aren't given very much room to do anything, but regardless, it ought to be embarrassing.
http://www.landmark-theatres.comFinal Verdict: D-.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4973&reviewer=172
originally posted: 04/30/01 09:35:38