Four Rooms Movie Review
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.
Cast & Crew
Producer : Lawrence Bender
Starring : Sammi Davis, Amanda De Cadenet, Valeria Golino, Madonna, Ione Skye, Lili Taylor, Alicia Witt, Jennifer Beals, David Proval, Antonio Banderas, Lana McKissack, Patricia Vonne Rodriguez, Tamlyn Tomita, Danny Verduzco, Salma Hayek, Paul Calderon, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender, Kathy Griffin, Quinn Thomas Kellerman, Marc Lawrence, Unruly Julie McClean, Laura Rush, Paul Skemp, Marisa Tomei, Tim Roth, Bruce Willis