American Crude

 (2005? 2008?)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is the first full-length film directed by the actor Craig Sheffer, and is supposed to exist somewhere between the world of hip relationship comedies and the world of Tarantino-style post-modern gangster tales. It relates two intersecting stories, each involving several people on one night in L.A.

The central plot thread involves an amoral man (Ron Livingstone) who is about to lose the love of his life forever when she marries his best friend (Rob Schneider). His scheme to prevent that involves getting the friend into so much debauchery on the night of his bachelor party that no sensible woman would consider marrying such a depraved man. Getting involved in the scheme are a tranny hooker, her horny handyman, and some cops.

The secondary story involves an underground group of ne'er-do-wells who kidnap young girls and use them in raunchy sex films, or sell them to perverts as sex slaves. Many of the girls end up dead, but one woman who eventually escaped their clutches (Jennifer Esposito) has an elaborate scheme to gain brutal revenge on them while emptying their bank accounts at the same time.

In various ways not worth detailing, the Livingstone/Schneider plot gets entwined with the other.

When a film is completed in 2005, disappears for three years and finally gets released to DVD without fanfare, you'd expect that it is not a very good film. And you would be correct. The production values are comparable to those on a soap opera or a live show from the 1950s (worst fake fire ever). The humor is juvenile and some of the allegedly humorous characters are racially offensive, particularly two intellectually challenged Latinos. The characters who are not offensive are either utterly unappealing (Livingstone's parents, e.g.), or totally one-dimensional and stereotypical (the tranny hooker and the innocent schoolgirl in her pleated skirt and long white socks, e.g.). The only bright spot in the film is Rob Schneider, who plays his usual "lovable, regular guy who's kind of a schmuck" character. Schneider's is the only character you might actually like, and he invested the film with its only sympathetic moments. I like Rob, but it doesn't say much for a film when its sole saving grace is Rob Schneider in a supporting role.

American Crude was meant to be a blacker-than-thou comedy and it does play out like a black comedy, except without generating any of that pesky laughter. Frankly there probably is just not that much humor to be found in guys who kidnap and exploit underage girls, even if their dumb Mexican lackeys occasionally kidnap a sheep by mistake.

Here is a trailer, if you really want to know more. The trailer makes it seem zany and stupid. That's a bit misleading. It's actually zany, stupid and repulsive. Not only do I not recommend this film, but I strongly advise against it. It's not only puerile, but it's so cavalier in its attitude toward animal and child abuse, and just so generally odious, that it will leave you feeling like you need a shower.


* widescreen








No reviews online.


2.0 IMDB summary (of 10)


Straight to DVD



The nudity is a rip-off as well. Missy Pyle shows her breasts for a whopping three frames before the scene cuts away. Cynthia Watros may or may not appear topless very briefly. She and Livingstone roll around on a bed and the editing is designed to hide her breasts, but I think she bared one breast very briefly. It doesn't matter much, because motion blur spoils the fun anyway. Those two scenes occur during Livingstone's opening voice-over. After that - no flesh at all.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is an:


And the technical issues bring it very close to a rare F.