“Two Hundred Thousand Dirty” is one of those low-rent Tarantino knock-offs that we used to see in film festivals all over North America.
A ready acknowledgement that the filmmaker’s seen “Reservoir Dogs,” an incompetent nod to “Pulp Fiction,” with maybe a little Tarantino-by-way-of-David-Mamet in the dialogue, at least he’s trying to steal from interesting work.
Lots and lots F-bombs litter the script, a “tell” that the characters we’re dealing with are inarticulate and that the screenwriter’s lazy.
There’s a failing mattress store in some dying Southwestern strip mall, a hard luck salesman with a side hustle dressing up as a bunny for birthday parties or S & M role-playing gigs, a femme fatale and a murder-for-hire, maybe two.
Rob, played by Mark Greenfield, needs a lot of pulls off his cigarette to buck up for one more bunny gig. And this one, it turns out, was unknowingly-booked by his girlfriend (Kittson O’Neill, who is a dominatrix.
He lives with her. How does he not know that? And she has to know he does bunny gigs.
Their argument and break-up is just the first serving of f-bombs of Rob’s effed-up day. Selling mattresses for Preston (Kenneth McGregor) is no walk in the park. No customers, endless smoke-and-gab breaks with his pal Manny (Coolie, in his weirdest hairdo ever), it’s a wonder either of them draws a salary.
Martin (C. Clayton Blackwell in what looks like a very bad wig) another “name tag,” apparently from a garage down the street, sits in on these sessions, further infuriating foul-mouthed Preston. Corporate, he says, wants him “to hire a woman, see if she picks the numbers up.”
That brings in the exotic, beautiful Argentine Isabelle (Rocío Verdejo). And that’s where the trouble really begins.
Rob should see her coming, but if he did, this wouldn’t be the arc of his life. He should look in the mirror and know she’d never give him a second glance, even if they’re neighbors in addition to co-workers.
He should hear it in the “long story” she never wants to go into, about her marriage. And he sure as hell should back off the instant she says, “I want you to kill my husband.”
The driving force of the many film noirs this set up is borrowed from is sex, literal “Body Heat.” But writer-director first-time/only-time writer-director Timothy L. Anderson and his players can’t manage that.
Letting us see Isabelle’s revulsion at Rob’s Simpsons-esque table manners is giving away what has never been hidden.
At least there’s the comic and amoral planning of the crime. Rob’s seen some movies, and “when dudes get away with it on TV, they’ve got a team.”
Rob, Manny and Martin aren’t much of a team. Mistakes are made, including some by “the husband (Spencer Rowe).
They’re “colorful,” but only barely. The characters are just sketched in and the performances don’t add much to those sketches.
The dialogue is a lot of “You know what I’m sayin” and “THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about” and f-bombs, pages and pages of them.
We’ve thought the phrase long before somebody says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
I like the milieu, and heaven knows this corner of American working life is never represented on screen. But these amoral clowns aren’t funny enough to fret over, aren’t likeable enough to root for, and their “plan” — amusing twist aside — is so dim-wittedly realistic that it’s dull.
Tarantino-esque arguments about the movie they’re trying to copy — “This isn’t like the f—–g ‘FUGITIVE!'” — doesn’t make “Two Hundred Thousand Dirty” pay off.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, profanity, smoking, alcohol
Cast: Mark Greenfield, Coolio, Rocío Verdejo,C. Clayton Blackwell, Kenneth McGregor and Spencer Rowe
Credits: Written and directed by Timothy L. Anderson. A Corinth Film, an Indiepix release.
Running time: 1:29