Four Rooms

Reviewed By Doc JTR
Posted 05/21/03 08:59:18

"Like watching an acid trip on acid while having an acid trip."
3 stars (Average)

Although this movie has been out for some time, there really hasn't been a decent review offered for this movie. I rented i with my girlfriend a few nights back and I hadn't seen the movie since it was released in the mid 90's. It's interesting, a bit annoying, but the last two segments of the movie pay off.

There are certain advantages to watching this movie a few years after it's release. For instance, in the second story of "Four Rooms," Jennifer Beals and her husband play a weird sexual gameon Ted the Bellhop (Tim Roth). But after seeing this, I realized "Holy Shit! The man playing Jennifer Beals husbad is Richie Aprile from season 2 of the Sopranos. Awesome. He's even got a big fucking gun, no wonder he was chosen by the Sopranos people. Another instance is the first segment, in which we see I witch Ione Skye's breasts. When I first saw the movie I didn't understand the humor, but now I realize that "Hey! That's John Cusack's bitch from "Say Anything." Oh yeah, but I still fucking hate Lili Taylor (though I bet she's good on "Six Feet Under")."

"Four Rooms" is the story of the night of Ted the Bellhop on New Year's Eve when he's working alone at a hotel. The movie is split up between his adventures with four different rooms. Tim Roth plays Ted in a very jumpy, mumbly, hamming technique. Sometimes it pays off, but sometimes Roth's overacting gets on my nerves. The probem with it is that we never get to know who Ted is or hy we should give a damn about them. Take away the swearing, the nudity, and the violence and this is a fucking sitcom.

Which is a shame because each of the segments is directed by well-known and respected writer/directors.

The opening credits are animated, much in the style of the "City Slickers" or "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" credits. Right away we get the feeling that this movie is for the mos part pointless.

The first segment is called "The Missing Ingredient," directed by Allison Anders in which a coven of witches are raising a beloved witch in the honeymoon suite. These witches are played by Madonna, Valeria Golina, Lili Taylor, Sammi Davis, and Ione Skye (most of them were about 8 or 9 years past their peak at the time, which I bet i the point). They are also joined by Alicia Witt, who was unknown then. Madonna walks arond in tight leather, but oddly enough, does not get naked. Hmm. This is my least favorite and your better off skipping it altogether. The direction is shitty and the actresses are lame. The plot of the segment is that because Ione Skye swallowed the jizz of a guy she was supposed to get it from, she has to collect from Ted. Nothing realy happens, it's retarded.

The second segment has Jennifer Beals tied to a chair and her husband (forgive me I don't remember his name) threatening to blast the ever-loving hell out of Ted because he thinks he is sleeping with his wife. Ted is obviously in the wrong room. The segment involves some good direction from Alexandre Rockwell, one shot where Ted is hanging out of a window is pretty cool. Jennifer Beals also spews off other names for the penis in the funniest part of the part of the movie.

"The Misbehaviors" is inspired and hilarious. It comes from Robert Rodriguez and features Antonio Banderas as he was meant to be portrayed; as a tough-ass father. Everything Banderas does or says drips with hilarity and the plot of the segment is also the most disturbing and tolerable. If the whole movie had been this good, it coud have been another "Go" or "Pulp Fiction." The central plot of this segment is Banderas pays Ted to check up on his foot-fetish kids while he and the wife go out. Soon after the parents leave, the children run amok. This would be a pretty lame plot in the tradition of "Home Alone" or any other shitty kids-defeating-adults movie, except this has lots of swearing, clever dialogue, T & A (which features Salma Hayek as a face-less stripper; must have been leftover footage from "From Dusk Til Dawn"), and oh yes, a maggot infested corpse in the bed. Very funny. Good directing as well.

Now we take a break and meet Marisa Tomei's pothead. This is funny and all, but it really distracts us from the story. And anyone who has seen the box for the movie would see that Tomei's character is portrayed on the cover, looking nice with blond hair. But in the movie, she is dirty, dark haired, and looks like she smells like shit.

Anyhoo, on to the final segment; the best directed one, but not the funniest. Qunetin Tarantino wrote, directed, and (gag) starred in this one. Jennifer Beals is back for no apparent reason and all of the characters have long monologues (Bruce Willis' rant about his wife is by far my favorite). The 20-25 minute segment is very Hitchcockian. For the first 20 minutes, Tarantino only utilizes two cuts (a la "Rope"), but near the end, the cuts come more rapidly and the shots are engaging (a la "Psycho"). The plot involves Tarantino's character, an A-list actor, who wants to pay Ted to do something for them. The result is quite surprising and hilarious and leads us into the end credits where a song that sounds like the end credit song from "Pulp Fiction" kicks in. A better than average ending to a better than mediocre movie.

Banderas shines, Tarantino dazzles, and Tim Roth is along for the ride.

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