Waking Up in Reno Movie Review

There are bad movies, and there are awful movies. And then there is Waking Up in Reno, one of the worst films ever made, so bad it had to be delayed theatrically at least a couple of times before finally grossing about $260,000 in theaters.

Swept Away more than doubled that.

Is it Charlize Theron's crimped hairdo? Billy Bob Thornton's beard and sideburns? Natasha Richardson's painfully bad "southern" accent? Or is it just Patrick Swayze?

Everyone's to blame here and more, namely owing to a script from Brent Briscoe and Mark Fauser (last film: Hillbilly Heist) and director Jordan Brady's (played "Teen Boy" on Baywatch) inability to realize that all of the above mentioned are as awful as they are. Perhaps he is deaf and blind. Perhaps Hasslehoff hit him. If not, he should.

Reno is a sex comedy (and yes, I realize that three of its four stars are not sexy). As you might expect, it is set in Reno (again, penny slots and monster truck rallies just aren't sexy). In lieu of Wayne Newton, the obligatory crooner we get is... wait for it... Tony Orlando.

All of these elements come together when two couples (match them yourself) go on vacation, where it's revealed that two of them are cheating on the other two. Oopsie. Thornton's used car salesman proposes the other two sleep with each other for revenge... or something.

The revelation comes an hour into the picture and just about kills the dying-since-frame-one movie altogether. It's not just humorless, it's insulting. It's plain to see with the bigwigs at Miramax put the movie out to pasture. It's just a shame they didn't choose to kill it before it ever got photographed.

Want extra suffering? Check out the deleted scenes, making-of featurette, and -- I swear to God -- feature length commentary track. Ladies and gentleman, I pronounce irony officially dead.

Hey, my career prospects are getting even thinner than you!


Waking Up in Reno Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: R, 2002


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