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Frogs for Snakes

Starring Barbara Hershey; Robbie Coltrane, John Leguizamo, Debbie Mazar, Clarence Williams III, Harry Hamlin
Written and Directed by Amos Poe
website: www.shootinggallery.com

IN SHORT: Great Premise. Awful execution. [Rated [R]]

Aiming for some kind of downtown New York Underground style, Frogs For Snakes delivers a top name indie cast who are mired in a story that is so difficult to comprehend you'll be more distracted by the totally retro 1960s era road cruisers all the main characters drive. Of course, if you're into gratuitous violence, there's more than enough to go around.

Here's the premise: Frogs for Snakes features actors who will literally kill for a good role, in this flick a production of David Mamet's American Buffalo. Most of 'em also work for, in one way or another, a loanshark named Al Santana (Robbie Coltrane). These include Al's ex-wife Eva (Barbara Hershey), his current flame Simone (Debi Mazar) and numerous supporting characters, all of whom are fairly anonymous despite memorable nicknames -- Klench, U.B., Crunch, Flav, Huck. When Al decides to do Buffalo, one of his stooges says "I would kill to play Teach!" Still partially enamored of his ex, Al joking says, "OK, kill Zip (John Leguizamo)" who is Eva's current fling. Two gunshots later, it's a done deal.

Everyone's an actor. Killing or maiming, whatever, is just the day job. The in joke is that, with the exception of Eva, none of these "actors" can act. That point is driven home as all of 'em do their monologs for each other (meaning you) and all of 'em suck. If you have no exposure to the actor wannabe ethic, the monologs will feel totally out of place to you.

Add to this some subplot about Al's kids, two out of town enforcers (including the original Mod Squad Linc, Clarence Williams III) and $600,000 of stolen money. Cranky suspects that a long, complicated screenplay is what attracted these actors. Cranky reports that the 90 or so minutes which made the final cut suggest that the editing process murdered what was attractive.

Other names in the cast that will attract, more to the fact sucker in, ticket paying audiences are Harry Hamlin, dressed 70s style with a mop of hair you won't believe; and Ron Perlman as a low level messenger for Al, whose language demonstrates a particular fondness for the "f" word. John Leguizamo has little to do, other than to get naked or killed. His name is the biggest draw. His part is the least of the lot.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Frogs for Snakes, he would have paid...

$1.00

Feh.

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.