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Four Rooms

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Four Rooms

Starring: Tim Roth, Antonio Banderas
Director: Allison Anders
Rated: R
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: December 1995
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Horror

*Also starring: Danny Verduzco, Lana McKissack, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Beals, Paul Calderone, Sammi Davis, Valeria Golino, Madonna, Ione Skye, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Bruce Willis

Review by Jerry Saravia
1½ stars out of 4

Allison Anders, Quentin Tarantino, Alexander Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez all have one thing in common. They have concocted a disastrously wrongheaded anthology about four different rooms in a David Lynchian hotel with one omnipresent character, a bellboy. If only these four rooms didn't all seem the same.

Tim Roth plays Ted, the bellboy who works one long night on New Year's Eve catering to the demands of every guest at the hotel. Firstly, we have a coven of witches all played by Madonna, Lili Taylor, Valeria Golino, Sammi Davis and Ione Skye. For Skye to become a witch, she needs Ted's sperm! Then Ted inadvertently wanders into a bizarre S & M game with Jennifer Beals. Later, Ted finds himself acting as a babysitter for two little rascals while the parents (Tamlyn Tomita, Antonio Banderas) are out partying. Finally, there is the movie star (Quentin Tarantino) and his cohorts on the top floor who stage a bet involving cutting someone's pinkie off.

To give Tim Roth the title role is a stroke of genius but he's not given much of a character to play. His constant tics and forced smiles in all four episodes evoke wearisome histrionics, not laughter. Just imagine what Steve Buscemi from "Barton Fink" might have done with this.

The best episode is the first one called "The Missing Ingredient" with the coven of witches - it is funny and has some zest to it, and all the actresses make witty appearances. Rockwell's awful "Wrong Man" episode is uneven, stupid and definitely the worst - this episode's idea of wit is to have Beals's character come up with various synonyms for penis. Rodriguez's over-the-top "Misbehavers" is strangely dull with Banderas overdoing his "Desperado" slicked-ponytail routine. The last episode, "The Man From Hollywood," is relentlessly dreary with Tarantino doing his one-note characterization of a movie star and his knowledge of how movies gross at the box-office. The finger foible story adds zilch to Tarantino's own pulpy film resume, and the constant hand-held camerawork and litany of f-curses is headache-inducing.

"Four Rooms" is a misguided and terminally unfunny anthology offering none of the evident talent from its star directors, excluding Allison Anders ("Gas, Food and Lodging"). It is less a movie than an excuse to show a serpentine, uncontrollable late-night party with more jeers than cheers.

Copyright 1996 Jerry Saravia

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