HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GONE HOLLYWOOD -- DVD review by porfle

If you like your comedy on the bland side because you're afraid of the potential internal injuries that actual laughter may inflict on you, then the almost terminally low-key GONE HOLLYWOOD (2010) may appeal to you.  Otherwise, watching it might make you appreciate the relative pleasures of being in a coma.

Fernando Carrillo plays Al, a down-on-his-luck TV actor who returns to his tiny south Texas hometown after his father dies because in order to inherit the old man's billiard bar--and then sell out to a radio station owner who wants to demolish it--he has to work in it for thirty days.  Of course, the employees are like a family and don't want him to sell, so they go about selling Al on keeping the place. 

One of the fun things about the bar that's supposed to make Al want to keep it is "Mariachi Madness Night", which consists of a lot of people filing onstage in mariachi outfits and playing instruments.  Yeah, that's pretty insane, all right.  Another big selling point is "Chicken Poop Bingo", a Sunday tradition that involves actual chickens picking the bingo numbers by pooping on them.  Whoa, stop it--my sides are hurting. 

The really weird thing about these scenes is that there are no reaction shots of the bar's customers.  The camera remains pointed at the stage the entire time, as though we're watching a local cable-access broadcast from a cheap bar.  There aren't even any "people" sound effects.  It's a little on the nightmarish side, which tends to counteract the happy comedy feeling the movie is supposed to be instilling in us.
Other detrimental factors are the film's murky photography, sluggish pace, and Demetrius Navarro's amazingly uninspired direction--the whole thing just sits there like an undercooked comedy pancake that's been smothered in molasses.  The acting is goodnatured but not very good, and everything's so dead-calm that the funniest gags involve a gang of senior citizens on scooters who are fans of Al's TV reruns (only old people like his show) but angry with him for wanting to sell the bar. 

Erlinda Orozco is kind of cute as bar maid Nena, whom we know will get together with Al because this movie isn't about to do anything surprising, and the rest of the cast perform with such a talent-show earnestness that it's hard not to give them pity points.  Carrillo himself, as washed-up TV star Al, reminds me of what might happen if you took a young Joaquim de Almeida (DESPERADO) and replaced his brain with half a pound of potato salad and a hamster wheel. 

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78.1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound.  Closed-captions but no subtitles or extras.  The closing credits feature some behind-the-scenes tomfoolery.

I can't totally diss GONE HOLLYWOOD simply because it's so inoffensive.  As a comedy, it's almost passive-aggressive.  You may want to watch it just so you don't hurt its feelings.  Better yet, turn on the DVD player and then sneak out of the house while it isn't looking.

Buy it at


No comments: