'Dirty Girl': Road movie takes too many turns
A movie review of "Dirty Girl," a raunchy road movie that benefits from the chemistry generated by its stars, Juno Temple and Jeremy Dozier, but tries too hard to satisfy too many different audiences.
Special to The Seattle Times
'Dirty Girl,' with Juno Temple, Jeremy Dozier, Dwight Yoakam, Mary Steenburgen, Milla Jovovich, William H. Macy. Written and directed by Abe Sylvia. 99 minutes. Rated R for sexual content, including graphic nudity and content. Varsity.
The opening-night attraction at this year's Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, "Dirty Girl" tries hard to please many kinds of audiences.
Too hard. The movie is all over the place, searching for an identity that proves almost entirely elusive. It begins as a raunchy teen comedy, slides abruptly into the outline of a road movie, then wraps things up by turning into a sentimental musical.
The high-school opening is barely tolerable, the musical finale takes itself far too seriously, but the road movie is relatively painless. That's due largely to the chemistry generated by its stars: British actress Juno Temple and Texas-born newcomer Jeremy Dozier.
The year is 1987 and the place is Oklahoma, where "the only safe sex is no sex" has become a mantra that can't stifle this pair. Danielle (Temple) and Clarke (Dozier) are headed for liberating California, where promiscuous Danielle hopes to find her father and overweight Clarke plans to lose his virginity.
A failed Boy Scout who figures he's "65 percent gay," Clarke has been threatened with military school by his homophobic father (Dwight Yoakam), though his mother (Mary Steenburgen) is more sympathetic. Danielle's mother (Milla Jovovich) is on the verge of marrying a scary fundamentalist (William H. Macy) who provides another reason for skipping town.
On the road in a "borrowed" red Mustang, Danielle and Clarke bond instantly. When they pick up a handsome hitchhiker, he seems all too willing to fulfill their fantasies. The movie, briefly for better but mostly for worse, does the same.
Writer-director Abe Sylvia sets up a few sight gags that pay off, and there are moments when Temple seems to be steering the script in a less hapless direction. But the goofiness ultimately turns to goo.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org
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