Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 61 minutes
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The only reason to really name a movie character after a tragic figure, such as Amelia Earhart is to try to subvert the audience’s expectations because once they learn of that character’s name, right away their minds are put into action, wondering if this character will follow the same path as their real-life counterpart. It may work with, say, a mystery film or somewhere else where that kind of characterization can be useful, but here, in “Hard Luck Girls”, it doesn’t work. Writer/director William P. Ramsey puts this into action with his lead character, Antoinette (Devin Whitney), a gambling junkie who’s had an interesting, yet too exploitative run-in with the henchmen of an angry bookie whom she owes over two grand. There’s no head separation here, as it happened with Marie Antoinette, and subsequently, no interest to be had with Antoinette. She and her friend Krista (Jessica Lycheiux) have their own problems, Krista with a sick father, which brings many questions into play.
First and foremost, bad screenwriting is definitely running at full speed here. Because we don’t know Krista all too well, Ramsey feels obligated to slip in dialogue that has Krista explaining to her father what her step-father was like to her. Abusive, naturally, as if Ramsey wants to provide justification for Krista’s decision to agree with Antoinette that they should become strippers. Naturally, this would be the time for those fans of T&A to give loud hoot and hollers, but shockingly enough, “Hard Luck Girls” is the first film I’ve seen where I’ve actually wanted the T&A to go away so I could pick up whatever pieces of the story were available.
And so it goes that not only is Krista’s “explanation” unreasonable in the course of the film (money’s money. Isn’t that motivation enough for getting a job like this if there’s no other discernible talents?), but the British-accented fellow who auditions Antoinette and Krista actually explains that he’s a real scumbag, while fondling Krista. What the hell is this? I seem to remember that subtly sometimes brings more to a character than dialogue. The guy looks like a creep from the outset, so there’s no reason for him to call himself what we already know to be true.
Ramsey attempts to make this a character-driven piece, though there’s no drive to these girls, no reason to really follow them through all of 61 minutes, though I did end up worrying a bit about Krista’s mentally-ill father while she was out stripping and fucking, the cash flowing. What does he do while she’s out? It seems apparent that he’s not all that able to take care of himself, just by his words, so what happens to him? Those kind of thoughts, unfortunately, are just like trying to analyze the artistic qualities of a Dolph Lundgren action movie. The performances by Whitney and Lycheiux seem like that of two girls, who realize that their high school clique has dissipated and have to find other roles to play in order to avoid the realities of life. The editing is an absolute embarrassment, particularly in one scene where Krista walks upstairs to a motel room with yet another guy, and superimposed over that shot is another shot, revealing the stairs more closely.
Any semblance of a story is also clearly gone as it seems to be preferable to have as many shots as possible of strippers, a catfight, and a sequence in which one of the “been there, done that” strippers, teaches Krista the art of a lapdance. The major insult, more urgent than anything else that makes this horrible, comes early on when Antoinette and Krista are sitting in a car, getting good with the typical non-cigarette smokes, and through the screenplay, Antoinette pulls a “Pulp Fiction” trick; that is to go into a rant of what makes a pop culture icon great or garbage. In Antoinette’s case, it is the appeal of Ozzie Osbourne that she chooses to focus upon, and it’s so out-of-place.
“Hard Luck Girls” fails as a matter of pure entertainment, presenting nothing enjoyable. Even with how short it is, the T&A all ends up looking the same and when the option to enjoy that has run out, that’s when all is completely lost. This one just drops dead from the very beginning, no stick-poking required.
Posted on November 26, 2004 in Reviews by Rory L. Aronsky
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- LET THEM EAT…
- ACTION KRISTA
- MARIE ANTOINETTE
- LOSE YOUR HEAD FOR “MARIE ANTOINETTE” TRAILER
- THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE
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