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Arizona Dream
cast: Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Faye Dunaway, Lili Taylor, and Vincent Gallo

director: Emir Kusturica

134 minutes (15) 1993
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Axel enjoys his job researching fish stocks in the waters around New York City. But he's been having some very odd dreams about Inuit - and then his Mafia-obsessed cousin turns up to drag him home to Arizona for a family wedding. His uncle, who was his childhood hero, is about to marry a much younger woman - but Axel's own sexual temptation comes in the form of a wealthy widow and her deeply unhappy daughter. Soon he's caught up in the mother's dream to build her own biplane - but his uncle wants him in the family car business, his cousin is romancing the daughter, and he's still having those dreams...

This is a wildly silly film. Film swim through the skies; Mexican troubadours roll past on trucks, strumming away; midget tailors sing incessantly while measuring their customers. The same lines of dialogue are endlessly repeated, as if the performers were waiting for someone to pick up their cue. Everyone has an unlikely obsession or weird quirk. I expect it's all supposed to be meaningful, or symbolic, or something.

And what's wrong with that? Well, it all looks lovely, but it would help if there were some characters that we could sympathise with. An extremely young Johnny Depp wanders dozily through the movie, explaining his own emotions in voiceover, too passive and bemused to engage us greatly. Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor do a fine job of getting on our nerves from the moment they burst on screen, squabbling over a car at the showrooms, but this doesn't exactly leave us rooting for them. Experimentation can be a great thing in a movie - but if we don't care what happens to the characters, what's the point?

Eventually, Axel discovers a gun in the barn, and decides it's his duty to put the unhappy women out of their misery - or he would, if he wasn't paralysed by the fact that they're both so miserable that he doesn't know who to shoot first. (And remember, this is billed as a rom-com...) By this stage, I fear, you'll be rooting for him to run amok and slaughter the entire town, in the hope that this will bring your viewing misery to an end. Alas, this really is a movie for fans of the deeply pretentious, or Johnny Depp completists, only.

DVD extras (if you haven't had enough by the end of the feature!) include a range of trailers and promos, one deleted scene, and a (subtitled) French-language interview with Mr Depp himself.

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