Poor White Trash


Poor White Trash Review

What is it about semi-rural America that makes it so ripe for satirizing American values? It's a longstanding tradition of mockery, from the Coen brothers' Raising Arizona to Lynch's psychotic Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, to, finally, Michael Addis' Poor White Trash.

Poor White Trash concerns Michael Bronco (Tony Denman), a small-town boy who wants nothing more than to be a psychologist. He spends his evenings talking about how his divorced mother's (Sean Young) anger towards her ex is a shield for her fear of abandonment, and spends his days raisin' hell with Ron Lake (William Devane). One day, the hell raisin' goes a little too far and the two find themselves in court, where they are convicted but get a suspended sentence due to the handiwork of the sleazy Lennie Lake (Jacob Tierney), a gold-toothed hick of a lawyer with a beer-can garden (you really have to witness this bizarre sight to believe it). Thinking that all is fine, the group goes off to celebrate, only to find out that Michael can't get into college now that he's been convicted of a crime.

Furious, Michael's mother Linda embarks on a crime spree with Ron, Michael, and Brian Ross (Jason London), a boy who used to beat up Ron and Michael but now has convinced himself that he is in love with Linda... all in an effort to afford the tuition of the University of the Virgin Islands: the only place left that will take a student with a criminal record other than trucker's school.

Needless to say, this is one really absurd, funny movie.

Cinematically, Poor White Trash is about as good as they come. DP Peter B. Kowalski (Whipped) gives the film a bright, surreal look, and set designer Stacy Adamski and Jamie Colboth's creations (including the beer-can garden, with its totem poll of Budweiser cans) are positively mind-blowing. The direction is fine, the script bitter, and the pacing of the movie bouncily quick. The only problem with Poor White Trash is that the performances are just a little too over-the-top, even for an over-the-top comedy like this.

Then again, most patrons of Poor White Trash likely won't look at the film like movies of its ilk should be looked at. Instead of viewing this as the dark satire that it is, they'll simply view it as a black comedy, a la Raising Arizona. If that's the case, most people won't give a damn that the actors have gotten a little too carried away with the mania of Poor White Trash. They'll just sit back and have fun.

Your trailer or mine?

Poor White Trash

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th June 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $1.4 thousand

Budget: $1.2M

Distributed by: Hollywood Independents

Production compaines: Kingsize Entertainment


Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 5.1 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: , Mark A. Roberts,

Starring: as Sandy Lake, as Brian Ross, as Ron Lake, as Linda Bronco, as Judge Pike, Richard Livingston as Prosecutor Machado