2 Days in the Valley (1996)

*. It may be hard to remember now, or even outside of some readers’ memories, but Pulp Fiction was quickly followed by a lot of clones. They’ve been mostly forgotten, or will be soon.
*. 2 Days in the Valley was one such clone. There’s a fractured narrative following the incidentally connected lives of a bunch of Angelenos hailing from high life and low. There are some violent hoods included in the mix. One of them has a favourite routine he likes to go through before killing someone. There’s a cool retro soundtrack. The action is laced with knowing humour. You know the script.
*. None of it works this time. The different narrative threads are awkwardly stitched together. The jokes are laboured (for example, Hopper telling Dosmo that he takes him seriously as a professional when Dosmo’s pants are down around his ankles). Dosmo is afraid of dogs. That’s a joke. Teddy Peppers made a bad TV-movie with an elephant in it. That’s a joke.
*. Charlize Theron wasn’t supposed to be here, but she was available so this became her first leading role. She was only twenty. There’s one reason to watch this movie. She’s it.
*. There’s nothing else to say. The dialogue isn’t very fast or very clever, and it needs to be both. Most such movies are a slow build to a clever conclusion, but while Roger Ebert found the ending here “neat and ingenious” I thought it was predictable. I guess they didn’t know what to do with Alvin (Jeff Daniels). Or with the massage parlour subplot. And I guess Teddy is going to marry the nurse. In a final in-joke Dosmo (Danny Aiello) says he’s going to Brooklyn to open a pizzeria. But that was years ago.
*. I’ll leave you with something nice. Here’s a pic of Charlize Theron.

 

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