KEYS TO TULSA

2 Stars
Year Released: 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 113 minutes
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A better title would be, “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be trust-fund brats.” Despite a stellar cast, Gramercy Pictures seems to be giving this movie a token release before a dive into video. First-time director Leslie Greif wanders aimlessly through this would-be Texas noir about family black sheep Richter (Eric Stoltz) Boudreau returning to his home town after an unnamed set of troubles. Richter is soon set upon by all of his equally rich, screwed-up friends. This includes his high school girlfriend, Vicki (Deborah “Crash” Unger) her white trash dope dealing husband, Ronnie (James Spader?) and her extreme mental case brother, Keith (Michæl “Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer” Rooker). Still hung up on Vicki, Richter allows Ronnie to drag him into a blackmail plot involving the son of local mega-millionaire James Coburn. Richter must watch over junkie stripper and witness, Cherry (Joanna “Wyatt Earp” Going) while Ronnie sets up a deal.
Well, you get the idea. The most respectable character in the whole film is probably Spader’s scumbag, but the revelatory performance is Going’s, who goes balls out in a manner inconceivable from her previous roles. Everyone else is awfully hard to like, and Stoltz’s character is messing up from the get-go. Director Greif states his film is inspired by pictures like “The Last Picture Show” and “Hud”. The creative bankruptcy of “Texasville” is more like it. He seems incapable of establishing a visual style or tone. For such a pedestrian job, I can’t understand how the producers attracted such a talented cast. Cameron Diaz is gone in the first five minutes. Mary Tyler Moore is wasted as Stoltz’s mother. Everyone is trying really hard but it’s too late to fix. Wait for it on cable. It won’t take long.



Posted on April 14, 1997 in Reviews by
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