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Thursday, March 22, 2007

ALPHA DOG (2006) - Nick Cassavetes

Based on the true-story of Jesse James Hollywood, a southern California drug dealer, and the youngest person ever to make the FBI's 10 most wanted list, Alpha Dog brings together a cast of young actors headed by Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Brittney-Spears-trainwreck-escapee, Justin Timberlake. Hirsch plays Johnny Truelove, the fictitious version of Jesse James Hollywood. One of his clients, meth-addled psycho Jake Mazursky (Foster) refuses to pay Truelove the money he owes him, so Truelove and his cronies (Timberlake, Shawn Hatosy) kidnap Mazursky's younger brother, Zack (Anton Yelchin) and hold him as collateral until Jake pays up. Mazursky's parents involve the police, and Truelove and his gang realize they're in a mess way over their heads, with time and options running out.

Alpha Dog suffers from one huge problem, and surprisingly, it's not the acting (although there are some appalling performances). The script is appalling. The dialogue sounds as though it was written by an obsessed Keanu Reeves fan. Every character reacts with a 'dude' or a 'whoah' and little else. There is not one likeable character in the film. Even Zack, the kidnapee, the character we're supposed to feel sympathetic towards, is incredibly naive and annoying. Everyone else in the film seems to have their heads jammed firmly where the sun doesn't shine. Not one of them seems to have an iota of sense. The performances range from mildly interesting from Foster, to somewhat adequate from Timberlake (although maybe he shouldn't hand in the notice at the day-job just yet) to appalling from pretty much everyone else. Bruce Willis pops up, but is inconsequential. And then there's Sharon Stone. If there's one reason to see this film, it's her. But not for the reasons you may think. At one point, she dons a fat suit for one of the most unintentionally funny scenes of the year. She looks like she just left the set of Eddie Murphy's latest gravitationally-challenged comedy. Other than that, there's no reason to see the film. Director Nick Cassavetes is less interested in plot development than promoting the SoCal gangsta lifestyle,yo! And for this reason, the film fails. Rubbish.

Alpha Dog @ IMDB