Go (1999) — Mixing drugs and comedy is dangerous

“Oh, he’s the good drug dealer!”

Justin’s rating: But seriously, kids, drugs are bad. Don’t take them, don’t sell them, and don’t idolize those who do.

Justin’s review: Memo to Katie Holmes: What is your problem? Are you so tired of looking like the cute innocent next-door girl that you need to be a sourpuss in every movie you’ve been in lately? In Disturbing Behavior, it appeared as though you were being forced to act against your will. Or possibly mildly constipated. Either way, I hope you rediscover your joy and your laughter.

Fortunately, to bail Katie Holmes’ grumpy cat out is Sarah Polley, one of the best new faces of acting. Sarah plays Ronna, a store clerk who is willing to do (nearly) anything to make money to avoid getting evicted. This involves entering the drug dealing industry, which seems like a fairly easy thing to do seeing as how the drug community are not typical members of MENSA. Her story intersects with Simon, a British co-worker to takes off for a hedonistic spree in Vegas. His story is complicated by actors who are coerced by the police into helping a drug bust.

Basically, it’s a movie where they filmmakers want you to notice how clever they’re being in tying all these plot lines together. And they kind of do, so grudging credit is given.

While the Simon’s and actors’ stories are interesting, by far and away I enjoyed the one with Ronna. The supermarket scenes, brief as they are, were funny and deserving of their own film. Why not? Great sequel potential. Two scene-stealers were Mannie (Nathan Bexton), who gets tripped out on acid and at one point tangos the macarena in the supermarket, and Todd “The Good Drug Dealer” Gains (Timothy Olyphant), who just chews up his lines like there was no sarcastic tomorrow.

While Go tries at times to be an edgy, dark comedy, it fails and becomes something much better — the rare “funny” comedy, with parts that’ll have you snorting your product placement brand Coke with laughter. Sure, it’s a little uneven, but some of the long set-ups for jokes are well worth the endurance. Seeing a black cat talk in subtitles to someone on drugs just made this film for me.

It’s been noted that every review of Go has mentioned a certain pop culture reference-spewing filmmaker, and I’d like you to note that I’ve gone this entire review without saying his name. Just goes to show that maybe I think this film is a little more enjoyable than such punchy trash. Maybe.

PoolMan’s rating: Have drugs, guns, gambling, raving techno, and cute chicks, will travel!

PoolMan’s review: Hmmm… Tricky. How does one go about reviewing something like this? I mean, it’s got so much going for it; interesting characters, an intertwining story, cool techno (not the crappy kind), and some messed up humour that’ll spin your nipple nuts. (I had to fill out three forms for Justin to use the phrase “nipple nuts” in my review. I hope you’re happy. Oh crap, I used it twice. Pass the papers…) And yet, I felt strangely guilty for the experience even though I immensely enjoyed it.

Therefore, I must diverge with my good Head Mutant’s opinion… I don’t think Go set out to be a comedy. I mean, the humour’s there, and it’s funny, but I remember being frequently reminded of Trainspotting (the Brit went a long way to help that). There’s all kind of really dark stuff going on in these kids’ drug-laden world, and more often then not my laughter was kind of nervous, as though owning up to laughing at the guy having sex in the room with two girls while it’s on fire makes me a bad person. Probably does.

I noticed the mood really changes from start to finish, too. I mean, the Ronna story is so dark and edgy, you start getting scared that Todd’s going to catch on to her little plan, and by the end of the first act, you freak out. By the end of the Adam and Zack story, you’ve got a naked cop apparently propositioning a pair of gay actors. Weird how it all flips around, and it took a little away from the consistency, even though I enjoyed each act on its own.

Speaking of the different acts, I felt the strangest urge to watch Run Lola Run again. I don’t mean to take away from Go, but Lola handled time traveling better.

Go seemed to shoot for art house film, dark comedy, and action all at the same time. While it didn’t really achieve any of these to maximum levels, it went a good distance on all of them, and reminded me of two classic movies without feeling like a ripoff. Try it with the lights off. Not to scare you, but just to get yourself in the mood.

Didja Notice?

  • The cat’s name is Princess Leah Lucky Buttons
  • Xerxes
  • How many times they use the word “go” in different situations
  • Tantra sex – where do you take classes for this sort of thing?
  • Sarah Polley wins first prize in the Uma Thurman lookalike contest, yet she’s still attractive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s