Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 12 March 2010
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
The first five minutes are compelling. The last five minutes make a visceral impact on the senses. Unfortunately, the one hundred minutes in between leave the viewing audience confused as to why they should care.
Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) and his girlfriend Ally (Emilie de Ravin) have each lost a loved one traumatically in the past. The two 21-year-olds develop a romance despite obnoxious roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) and other ongoing problems.
Her father, Neil (Chris Cooper) is a cop and a bit overprotective. His father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan) is a powerful corporate executive who seemingly dislikes his 11-year-old daughter, Caroline, (Ruby Jerins). Tyler hates his father so passionately it’s as difficult to understand as Brosnan’s attempt at a New York accent.
The two meet in a set-up. Tyler and Aidan know Ally’s the daughter of the cop who arrested them (and roughed them up) after a night out that turned into a skirmish. What starts as a prank meet-cute turns into young love, complete with sunlight streaming across bare shoulders in the morning. To be fair, there’s also a puke scene, a few fistfights, and a violent mugging. Hey, it’s New York, after all.
Tyler dotes on his little sister, who is artistic and considered somewhat of an oddball among her classmates. Although his father’s extremely wealthy, Tyler himself chooses to live in a pigpen of an apartment with a faulty lock on the door. This explains an unexpected altercation late in the film. You’ll rarely see him without a cigarette dangling between his lips.
The plot meanders like a slow moving river, stopping here and there but never long enough to leave an impression. One character that we see murdered in the first scene is barely mentioned afterward. Another who committed suicide is never seen but obsessed over – the very reason that Tyler walks around like an open wound most of the time. Yet we know nothing about him – just that his death devastated the family. Tyler’s mother Diane (Lena Olin) has little to do but look sad most of the time.
Of course since Tyler gets the girl, he must lose the girl, and then get her back again. It’s the law – at least in movie land.
And then the film reaches a solemn climax that would have made a perfect way to tie everything together if the pieces weren’t so hopelessly scattered about like a neglected jigsaw puzzle.
I’m not giving away key pieces of information that you’ll find in other reviews. There’s something to be said for discovery, especially when it’s unexpected. The elements of surprise are the only things this film has going for it and they are few, but if you choose to sit through the one hundred thirteen minutes, you should get at least ten minutes of them.
Robert Pattinson can play American convincingly, and with the angst of a channeled James Dean. Emily De Ravin delivers her lines in a haltingly uncertain manner that is distracting, although it’s meant to be fetching. Tate Ellington needs a dose of Ritalin during the entire first half of the film, but calms down enough toward the end to be somewhat sympathetic – a feat in itself. Chris Cooper’s intensity is intact, although misused in the pinball-like script. Pierce Brosnan is believable as a man with power, when he’s not speaking a string of badly accented words to give himself away. Ruby Jerins’ Caroline is the most endearing character you’ll find here, and her small plotline usually delivers where larger ones flounder. Lena Olin has little to do but is a welcome screen presence nonetheless.
Director Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland) has created a film that pinballs around in emotion, unsure if it wants to be funny, somber, rebellious, angry, tormented or sad. In trying to give equal time to every angst-filled or joyous epiphany, the effect is that of trying to watch a tennis match at 4x speed.
Will Fetters' screenplay tries to cover too much emotional territory succeeding only in a surface skim without any real depth. Character development is lacking and the emotionally draining payoff, if you can call it that, falters as a result.
Is Tyler’s story more important than Caroline’s? Or Ally’s? Or the dead who have shaped the lives of the living to the point of being changed forever? We look for answers but don’t find them.
Remember that if you remember anything about this film (other than the beginning and end).
The rest is, sadly, forgettable.