30 BEATS – The Review
Ten young New Yorkers who all look like they just stepped out of a Benettton catalog are connected by a summer heat wave and a series of steamy sexual encounters in 30 BEATS, which features an ensemble cast that includes Lee Pace, Condola Rashad, Justin Kirk, Thomas Sadoski, and Jennifer Tilly (with the exception of Ms Tilly, I hadn’t heard of these people either). In a chain sequence of events, writer-director Alexis Lloyd’s lifeless drama leapfrogs from person to person, and barely-connected vignette to vignette. A pattern of ennui, boredom, pretentious dialog, and sexual hook-ups emerges, as the movie probes the world of New York City as we’ve seen it in a thousand TV commercials. It starts (and ends) with Julie (Condola Rashad) determined to lose her virginity to her best friend Adam (Justin Kirk). She doesn’t need to twist his arm but he becomes impotent as a result of some red string she ties around his wrist. Adam then visits to Erika (Jennifer Tilly), a fortune teller to help fix his problem. Erika moves on to seduce bicycle messenger Diego (Jason Day) who goes on to visit etc, etc, etc,….. and on and on it goes, kind of like SLACKER if that movie was performed by vapid fashion models reading a crappy script.
The experience is never funny, surreal or weird, but simply an exercise in meandering self-importance. The problem is that these characters – if narcissistic, one-dimensional talking heads can be labeled as such – are uniformly grating, and their supposedly deep conversations about kabbalah, S&M, and psychic phenomena create an atmosphere of unbearable pretentiousness. They talk about complicated issues, but the dialog feels like a series of actor’s workshop sketches strung together. They may give their theories on these issues, but it’s never remotely interesting or cinematic. As a result, 30 BEATS becomes a test of one’s tolerance for not-very-colorful individuals blathering on about whatever random nonsense pops into their heads. If you like to listen to coffeehouse-type intellectuals shallowly pontificating on uninteresting socio-political subjects, 30 BEATS is the movie for you. I found it one long 85 minutes.
1 of 5 Stars
30 BEATS opens in St. Louis today at The Chase Park Plaza Theater