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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 Andrew Hicks
1½ stars out of 4

Four stars for FOUR ROOMS? Not quite. This one was lucky to scrape up the paltry one-and-a-half star rating it got. An interesting concept was drug into the ground by an aimless script and annoying lead actor. Tim "Pumpkin" Roth plays an idiotic English bellboy trying to run a hotel by himself on New Year's Eve. Four hot young directors (Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell) each wrote and directed a segment of the movie, none of which ever rise above the level of mediocre and two of which are completely beyond redemption.

The first, Anders' "The Missing Ingredient," is one of those. Madonna is a witch who wants sperm... I know you're all thinking, "Yeah, I know that, but what part does she play in the movie?" and to that I have to say shame on you. She and the rest of her coven meet in one of the hotel rooms to mix a witch's brew, with one pivotal ingredient missing -- the aforementioned life juice of a man. So one of the witches has sex with Roth. End of segment. The whole thing is pointless and unentertaining, with Madonna and the sexy Valeria Golino standing around, their talents unused.

Then comes the equally-bad "The Wrong Man," directed by Rockwell. This time Roth is the wrong man entering the wrong room at the wrong time in the wrong movie. Some guy has his wife tied to a chair, and goes from thinking Roth slept with his wife to kissing Roth full on the mouth, which has to be the absolute low point of the movie. It doesn't elevate itself too much more when Roth tries to escape and ends up stuck in the bathroom window, pleading the drunk man on the next floor up for help. The man vomits on his face, physical comedy at its finest.

The third segment, Rodriguez's "The Misbehavors," is the best of the movie, which definitely isn't a distinction to brag about. Roth is paid to look after the mischevious children of a Mexican gangster and his Asian-American wife. The second Roth leaves the room, they break open the champagne, watch adult movies, throw hypodermic needles at the painting on the wall and unearth a dead body hidden in the mattress springs. By the time the parents return, all hell has broken loose, although Rodriguez never shows how Roth escapes the gangster's wrath.

He instead cuts to a phone conversation Roth has with a stoned Marisa Tomei, in which he threatens to walk off the job but finally agrees to take some food up to the visiting Hollywood star in the penthouse. Begin the final segment of FOUR ROOMS, "The Man From Hollywood." This is Tarantino's segment and he of course plays the man from Hollywood, who shows Roth around the room before offering him money to officiate a bet that he and his drunken friends (one of which is an uncredited Bruce Willis) have made. It's interesting but incredibly slow-moving except for the ending, which is resolved in the five seconds before the credits roll. Even Tarantino can't do much justice to a fallen movie that has goes nowhere in ninety minutes and is only slightly entertaining during its final half.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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