' ' Cinema Romantico: Girl Walks Into A Bar

Monday, September 24, 2012

Girl Walks Into A Bar

“Girl Walks Into A Bar” was created exclusively for online distribution – specifically, Youtube – which is to say it’s “THE FUTURE!!!” And if “Girl Walks Into A Bar” is the future, cinema is dead. Ok. That’s harsh. I renege. I mean, the future of cinema will be dead, but it won’t be a sudden death. It will be a slow and mightily indifferent death. One morning we’ll all wake up and all we’ll have are a bunch of pretty lookin’ if spottily put together vignettes that you can just kind of check in and out of because, hey, it’s a movie on Youtube and this new Carly Rae Jepsen video over here to the right that Youtube is recommending is looking awfully good and, damn, I just can’t help myself. I’m clicking on it. All right! This video is rocking! This is – hey! Is this a video of Dane Cook putting a whoopee cushion on the House Speaker’s chair?!

Written and directed by Sebastian Guttierrez, “Girl Walks Into A Bar” is not only about a Girl – Det. Francine Driver (Carla Gugino, fine, hard-boiled work to no avail) – who walks into a bar but about a whole slew of people played mostly by actors you probably know who walk into and back out of bars all over glittery L.A. over the course of one night. Oh, and a ping pong club. They also walk into a ping pong club. Well, not exactly a ping pong club. It’s a ping pong club that would be right at home in “A Shot In The Dark.” If you don’t know what scene I’m referring to, you should probably Netflix “A Shot In The Dark” first and catch up with “A Girl Walks Into A Bar” later.

Plot? Oh, there’s plot. Sure. Nick (Zachary Quinto) wants his wife – second wife – dead. So he hires Francine to off her, except Francine is undercover and working with her fellow Detective (Josh Hartnett) who winds up in a liaison with Rosario Dawson whose character I’m fairly certain exists just to recite my favorite lines in the film – “My acid reflux is so much better since I switched to white wine.” Meanwhile Francine has her wallet stolen by a dude (Aaron Tveit) whose sister (Emmanuelle Chriqui) is an exotic dancer whose dad (Robert Forster) is waiting for a briefcase at a bar where Amber Valletta is pouring drinks. Danny DeVito turns up to basically tell a joke, not unlike Quentin Tarantino in “Desperado”, which seemed about right.

It’s a little like “Pulp Fiction” – minus the graphically fanciful dialogue that foreshadows – mixed with “Magnolia” – minus the wide-reaching, scattered stories that still somehow, in their own weird way, connect. Of course, it may be that “A Girl Walks Into A Bar” has no desire to connect its random tales on anything other than the most superficial level possible. I mean, the title explicitly evokes a shaggy dog story. That ain’t coincidence.

Per Meriam-Webster a shaggy dog story is “a long-drawn-out circumstantial story concerning an inconsequential happening that impresses the teller as humorous but the hearer as boresome and pointless.” Yup. Sounds like a movie made for Youtube.

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