Four Rooms Movie Review

I wish I could say I was let down by Four Rooms, but given the sheer volume of just awful buzz about the film, I think I got what I was expecting: an over-anticipated, overworked movie that was full of talent but devoid of taste.

It starts off bad enough. As the credits announce the four writer/directors (Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino), a cartoon sequence plays over them, in the tradition of cinematic masterpieces like Mannequin. This sets the stage: New Year's Eve at Hollywood's Mon Signor Hotel and only one bellhop (Tim Roth), and believe me, it's a rillyrilly wacky place. The film then launches into the first of four 30ish-minute shorts, one by each director.

The first segment is Anders's "The Missing Ingredient," about a coven of witches (including Madonna, Valeria Golino, and a mostly topless Ione Skye) who don't quite have everything they need to return their petrified goddess to flesh. Cut together like an episode of "Love, American Style," this vignette is just plain goofy and without point. Anders had never made a good movie before this, and she still hasn't, thanks mainly to lots of rillyrilly bad dialogue and acting. I heard a rumor that the actual ending to this episode is after the closing credits, but I'm not sure it's worth sticking around for.

The worst of the bunch is Rockwell's "The Wrong Man," wherein a sadomasochistic guy with a gun terrorizes his wife (Jennifer Beals) and bellhop Ted. I never did determine what this episode was all about, and judging from the silent audience, no one else did either. (Hint: Beals and Rockwell are married.) Rillyrilly bad music and dialogue also abound.

Robert Rodriguez's "The Misbehavers" is poor, but at least provides a few chuckles. Here, Rodriguez gets to take his comic strip, about some naughty kids, from his old college newspaper (where yours truly also worked) into the exciting world of live action. Dad Antonio Banderas is funny, but otherwise there's not much that's good here, although nothing is rillyrilly bad. Don't forget to smile during the humorous finale and appreciate the prodigious amounts of vomiting in this episode.

Wrapping up the film is the patriarch of the bunch, Tarantino himself, with a ripoff of an old "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" titled "The Man From Hollywood." Actually, for 25 minutes the characters (Tarantino, Beals, Paul Calderon, and Bruce Willis) moan and scream a lot. Then, for 15 minutes they rip off Hitch's "The Man From Rio," where Peter Lorre bets that Steve McQueen can't light his lucky lighter 10 times running. If he wins, Lorre gives him his car. If he loses, McQueen loses his pinky. Same deal in Tarantinoland, and the very very end pays off this otherwise drab episode. Notably poor here are the rillyrilly bad acting and editing and a rillyrillyrilly bad performance by Willis.

Watching the finale is almost worth sitting through the last hour of the film, but Anders and Rockwell should have been cut loose years ago when this project was dreamed up. Very disappointing is Tim Roth's ubiquitous overacting and just plain constantly annoying presence. Two stars pretty much cover all the four rooms...generously.

Tarantino loves on Roth.


Comments

Ms B's picture

Ms B

OH MY GAWD!!! Four Rooms is a classic and one of my all time favorites. I do believe each time it aired, I tuned in. The first episode wasn't nothing to write home about and there is criticism to speak of in the other three but one must be sharp to know "it was meant to be played like that". Shall we call it "slapstick"? Vaudevilleish I loved them and Tim Roth should have been nominated for his character. It would seem PR wasn't doing its job. Flaunting it! I hadn't heard of it until cable. It was an immediate love affair. It was constantly being exposed,by me,and still is. People needed to have a taste of it in there mouth before viewing. Like, sell them on it. That way, depending on their taste they go or they don't. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Plus, it's a movie for a choice people with a bit of a dent in their personality and humor. For the many times I've seen it, knowing what going to happen, I still crackup and laugh out loud.As for Tim Roth, he was suppose to be annoying. The talk, walk and annoying attitude was the bomb. He gained quite a large sum of my becoming his #1 fan.Finally, in closing, I will repeat "FOUR ROOMS is for a choice people."

8 years 6 months ago
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Four Rooms Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1995

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