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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.57%
Worth A Look: 8.57%
Average: 17.14%
Pretty Bad44.29%
Total Crap: 11.43%

4 reviews, 46 user ratings

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Four Rooms
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by Rob Gonsalves

"One-fourth of a good movie."
2 stars

It must have seemed like a great idea: Take four of today's hippest and/or hottest writer-directors and turn them loose on an anthology -- 'Twilight Zone: The Movie' for Gen-X. The result, 'Four Rooms,' earns the comparison in more ways than one.

The episodes themselves are like wilder, dirtier Twilight Zone segments -- a fusion of Rod Serling and David Lynch (who did a similar omnibus, Hotel Room, for HBO) -- and one of them is in fact an acknowledged swipe from the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Man from Rio." And Four Rooms, like TZ: The Movie, is ideal for video: Both anthologies begin with two awful segments, which you'll want to fast-forward past to get to the third and fourth segments. Like some other anthologies, this one has a unifying figure: Tim Roth as Ted the bellhop, who finds himself stumbling into one outrageous situation after another. But even Roth isn't a very good unifying element, because he's awful in the awful segments -- the directors let him twitch and overact shamelessly -- and much better in the other two pieces, where the directors keep a lid on him.

Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Mi Vida Loca) takes the blame for the first segment, "The Missing Ingredient." I'd rather not sink to the level of the piece and say that the missing ingredient here is humor. Actually, Anders' idea isn't bad -- a coven of witches need semen for their ritual and enlist Ted to provide it -- so I was shocked that she didn't do anything with it. The story has extremely shaky logic (has this hotel room been set up for the witches for the last forty years?) and even less point, except to showcase Madonna, who proves once again that she has no presence as an actress (Courtney Love might have brought more outlaw snap to the role of the coven mother). A classic case of a good filmmaker having a bad day.

"The Wrong Man," by Alexandre Rockwell (In the Soup), probably won't do much to change Rockwell's status as a little-known director. Here, Ted enters the wrong room and stumbles upon weird sexual games between a man (David Proval) and his wife (Jennifer Beals, who was Mrs. Rockwell). It's good to see Proval again -- he hasn't been around much since Mean Streets -- and there are a couple of nice visual gags involving Ted stuck in a window. But generally the piece is monotonous and unpleasant, and when Beals rattled off a list of nicknames for Ted's penis, I laughed but was ashamed of laughing; it's a pure sign of screenwriting desperation (and our desperation to laugh at something).

Fortunately, Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi) swoops in and almost erases our memory of the first two misfires. "The Misbehavers" is easily the best of the four rooms; Rodriguez's infectious sense of play catches you up immediately. In this one, Ted is pretty much intimidated into babysitting the two active children of an imposing bruiser (Antonio Banderas). Playing this cartoon heavy, Banderas at last recaptures the wit he showed in Pedro Almodovar's films but had forgotten in his American movies until now. The segment itself builds to an uproarious finish, made all the more effective because the audience at this point doesn't expect anything funny. It's a beautifully shaped comedy short, establishing Rodriguez as a director who can move beyond bang-bang.

The final entry, "The Man from Hollywood," is by Quentin Tarantino, and Quentin Tarantino makes damn sure we know it's by Quentin Tarantino. No more acting attempts, please. Quentin plays an obnoxious movie star who pulls Ted into a wager based on (you guessed it) "The Man from Rio"; in other words, Quentin basically plays himself. To say he's better here than he was on Saturday Night Live isn't saying much. The piece is redeemed by Tarantino's usual crackling dialogue, but it dawdles far too long before its "shock" ending. Some of the dawdling is amusing, some isn't.

Rodriguez's piece is a hard act to follow anyway. Tarantino's name may have been the key to getting "Four Rooms" to open, but only one guest in this hotel throws a good party -- and it isn't the man from Hollywood.

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originally posted: 12/30/06 06:09:42
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User Comments

1/29/13 TAYLOR Dafuq I just watch? 4 stars
12/16/09 matt Tim Roth is the new Peter Sellers... who knew? uneven but enjoyable 4 stars
11/26/08 Leo T Worst Madona film ever...and thats sayin somethin !! 1 stars
5/05/07 Eddie First time here on your site. I am delighted to find your wonderful website online. Would y 5 stars
4/26/07 Sharon I just want to say thank you for taking the time & effort for put this web page together! P 1 stars
2/10/07 Coleman One of the best locations I've come across lately!!! Definately a permanent bookmark! Pleas 1 stars
2/10/07 Marsha I just want to say thank you for taking the time & effort for put this web page together! V 5 stars
1/30/07 Katrina I just want to say thank you for taking the time & effort for put this web page together! P 3 stars
1/29/07 Chuck I really enjoyed this page. I will be linking and I will be trying to read and research all 2 stars
1/26/07 Betty One of the best locations I've come across lately!!! Definately a permanent bookmark! Pleas 3 stars
11/30/06 Joe Great looking site so far!! I'm just starting to look around it but I love the title page! 2 stars
10/29/06 G.A Clements All four was funny and had a good time watching. 5 stars
7/11/06 David Cohen Four pretentious directors try to "out-art" each other, the winner, nobody 2 stars
5/25/06 Jeff Anderson Just okay & not as bad as the critics say. The Robert Rodriguez segment is the best. 3 stars
8/06/05 Zack Three great directors! Three great short films! Hilarious comedy! 5 stars
1/19/05 nappyjonz constistantly sub-par 2 stars
1/18/05 tatum Very disappointing 2 stars
7/02/03 James Stephens A continental breakfast of flick-dom...Four Rooms, and no coffee. 2 stars
5/21/03 y2mckay Room 1 saved only by Ione Skye's rack, Room 2 sucked, but Rooms 3 & 4 were great. 3 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Only Banderas and Roth manage to shine. 1 stars
7/02/02 Danielle Ophelia Guilty pleasure at best. Aims for hip & quirky...but lands on uncomfortably silly. 2 stars
4/18/02 selim the conqueror love tim roth but films been a waste of talent n money.worth a look if ya like badmovies 4 stars
4/02/02 El Talboto Tim Roth was cast perfectly, the music was excellent and I left with a good feeling. 5 stars
10/01/01 Mike I laughed-what more does one want from a comedy? 4 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk This movie fucking sucks. I am most bitter when let-down by masters of the craft. 1 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa Quentin Tarantino's last 20 minutes are simply the best minutes. 3 stars
5/08/01 Evil Overlord Rodriguez bit is great. Rest sucks, and the finale was NICKED from Tales of The Unexpected! 2 stars
3/25/01 Eric Quite funny but the premiss hardley holds it together. watch it like 4 short films!!! 5 stars
2/01/01 jordan why do people like this? 2 stars
10/31/00 Terrie Smith Sorry but this is the one of the worst pieces of filmmaking I've seen in years. Painful. 2 stars
4/15/00 malcolm Don't misbehave! 5 stars
1/18/00 Foxdvd This movie is under-rated. It is not a deep movie on purpose 5 stars
12/04/99 PervertedPixie I found it just derangedly funny! then again I always had a sick sense of humour... 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg JUST PLAIN EMBARRASSING, HAMMY SHIT! What are all these talents doing here? 1 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Under-rated. 4 stars
5/03/99 The Bomb 69 First two sucked, last two rocked!!! 3 stars
4/28/99 the DUDE This movie was so fucking funny-Every room was great-last two I laughed so hard. 5 stars
3/03/99 two-squirt jerk the third part was so funny it almost made me cum the rest was so-so 4 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder First half sucked hard but the second half was fucking awesome. 5 stars
11/24/98 Fred Why does nobody else like this fuckin movie???? 5 stars
11/13/98 Lord Of The Dunce I'd rent this just to keep Jennifer Beals in gainful employment. We owe it to her. 1 stars
10/26/98 Brian Admittedly bad,I wanted to like it.Rodriguez and Tarantino turn in decent,if subpar efforts 2 stars
10/23/98 Negative Creep Rent this, Fast Fwd to the Last room. Tape that and put it in your Tarantino Collection ;) 2 stars
10/20/98 Johny The first two bits are awful, last two can't save it 2 stars
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  25-Dec-1995 (R)


  02-Feb-1996 (MA)

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