Trixie (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I once wrote that Emily Watson's performance in Breaking the Waves may have been the best screen performance I have ever seen from a woman.

Just to show how versatile she is, this may be the worst.

(For the sake of a fair argument, I've eliminated Anna Nicole Smith from the competition)

Poor Emily is given the assignment to play a gum-snapping bimbo from Chicago who works as a security guard but dreams of being a detective. The dialogue written for her is pretty much the greatest hits of Yogi Berra, as told to Norm Crosby. Every sentence out of her mouth is filled with malaprops, inappropriate uses, mixed metaphors, and confusion. (She introduces herself as a private "defective").

Unfortunately, our gal Em has apparently never been to Chicago, or heard anyone from Chicago speak, because she performs the entire film with the standard New York accent used by all grade-b film actors in the 1940's. In fact, with the malaprops and the accent, she manages to do a pluperfect impersonation of Leo Gorcey.

Once again, I don't understand the logic behind leaving this as it was. When it became obvious how the accent would come out, why not just change a word of dialogue - change "Chicago" to "New York", and the whole thing seems to make at least some sense. But why keep mentioning that she's from Chicago when she's impersonating the Bowery Boys?


Female: none. Emily Watson's aureola is visible ever-so-briefly.

Male: Dermot Mulroney showed his buns while changing clothes.

Well, anyway, Trixie does get her chance to solve a case, and she does eventually come up with a resolution, not that we care.

How in the world does a film like this get made? It was meant to be a parody of the film noir detective stories, and it has the requisite components. All the characters lie to each other all the time. All the characters are of such low moral character as to make the John Huston character in Chinatown seem like Dr Albert Schweitzer. Everybody in the film might have committed the murder, and all of them act suspicious and guarded, as if they did the crime. Nobody ever gives anybody else a straight or helpful answer. It's Raymond Chandler on acid in the year 2000.

Unfortunately, they forgot one tiny, almost insignificant little detail. A parody is comedic. Comedies are supposed to be funny!

Oops. Well, anybody could have made that mistake.

DVD info from Amazon.

1.85:1 widescreen anamorphic, enhanced for 16x9 screens.

Full-length director/writer commentary.

I'll give you a hint about the tone of the film. The director's previous movie was Breakfast of Champions. Remember how funny that was? This is about the same.

Rudolph should get some credit for trying to add innovative camera angles and transitions to a pedestrian story, but frankly that comes out as inappropriate and pretentious artiness, and the film is so lame that even good talents like Nick Nolte and Nathan Lane seem awful. In fact, Nick Nolte has turned into Ted Baxter.

Avoid this at all costs.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, Apollo 72.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Only 27% positive overall, and a similar 25% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: This movie was pretty much universally despised by viewers. IMDb voters score it 4.1, Apollo users an even worse 37/100.
  • With their dollars ... it was a disaster - total gross $285,000. Never made it to 30 screens.

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