Movie Review: A lotta blood, no luck at all in this “Clover”


I’m looking over, a bomb named “Clover,” that you all should sure ignore…

Man, just when you think a bloody-minded mob comedy can’t get any worse, here’s one that lowers the bar, time and again.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph Mantegna, this one. THIS one.

It’s a film where they lined up a few names, cooked up a couple of speeches for the “names,” and never figured out a way for any of it to make a lick of sense.

There’s an opening framing scene where Ron Perlman (“HELLboy!”) pontificates about “APEX predators” like wolves, and it is implied, himself.

Two Irish-American brothers (Mark Webber and Jon Abrahams, the film’s director) curse and wrestle over a “stupid STUPID” hand of blackjack that was their last, lost hope to save a dumpy bar that’s been in their family for “almost a hundred years.”

Chazz Palminteri plays the 464th mobster in his fettucine-flavored career. The brothers “owe everybody in town,” but Tony is the one who threatens them with the hammer in the back of his bowling alley/bar.

As payment, they have to go with the mobster’s son, Joey to lean on “another deadbeat.” Who is killed. But so is Joey (Michael Godere). And by the deadbeat’s teen daughter (Nicole Elizabeth Berger), no less.

The guys bicker over their lucky four-leaf clover. The girl’s name is Clover. That’s as clever as naming your mob boss “Tony.”

The movie is a slow-walking “on-the-lam” tale with the guys, saddled with the girl, calling in favors from old pals (Tichina Arnold) and old flames (Jessica Zhor), an uncle (Jake Weber), an old pal, and so on and so forth.

Because Tony’s boys are on their trail, stumbling just half a step behind, shooting up streets and subway stations trying to get at them. Never a cop in (Greater New York? I think.) when you need one.

“I want this done in the most painful way…”

There’s even a pair of lesbian hitwomen (the eternal “Swimfan,” Erika Christensen, “Twilight’s” Julia Jones).

Jesus, Mary and Ellen DeGeneres!

It’s meant to be a comedy, with a lot of gunplay and arterial spray. It’s not funny.

The dialogue, most of it shouted, is a torrent of misplaced threats and mob bravado.

“Nobody’s gettin’ killed in MY bar unless I want them killed!”

Every new character is introduced with a flourish, every scene degenerates into a screaming cuss-out and shoot-out.

And precious little of it connects, makes sense or leads anywhere.



Cast: Mark Webber, Nicole Elizabeth Berger, Jon Abrahams, Jessica Szohr, Chazz Palminteri, Erika Christensen and Ron Perlman

Credits: Directed by Jon Abrahams, script by Michael Testone. A Freestyle release.

Running time: 1:41.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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