Projections - Movie Reviews

Trixie Trixie

Alan Rudolph follows up his out of touch debacle of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions with an inversion of Alice In Wonderland into a kind of murder mystery about larceny, love, and language.  Casting the gifted Emily Watson in this capricious screwball noir as a naive, emotionally prescient sleuth who turns out to be a one dimensional character suggested by Rudolph in how he has Trixie Zurba speak the truth.  How the rest of the actors respond or look at Trixie most likely will be how viewers perceive a film with a wryness that gets stale too soon and isn't the clever modern reworking of stock characters and story that it confidently lays out.  Despite Watson's eccentric role, Trixie, disregarding her daffy lingo, is oddly brighter, and more ingenuous, than what comes across from Rudolph's misguided effort.

With accomplished veteran actors like Nick Nolte, Lesley Ann Warren and Nathan Lane at Rudolph's disposal, it's perplexing why Trixie has a tepidness about it.  Perhaps this amiable, honest woman, who seems to have an amusing way of confusing words with similar sounds, can't sustain credibility or connect with other, especially the male, characters.

At the outset, working as a security guard at an Army Navy store, she helps nab a shoplifter, but a coworker is killed during the apprehension.  But, this is just another dull position for a quaint lady whose family isn't around for support.  There's more veracity to her malapropism when spoken without the use of proper grammar.  Unfortunately her sweet naivety appears to be to restricted to effectively register with a viewer.

Quite easily, Trixie soon gets work in security, at a small lakefront casino in a remote resort area, Crescent Cove.  Lane is in his impression mode, in the Casino nightclub, as Trixie's confidante who drinks a bit, knows his audience is usually drunk or inattentive, and has a past with a darker skeleton.  The rising actress Brittany Murphy is the knowing young glamorous barfly who tips Trixie off about Dex Lang (Dermot Mulroney), a tawdry ladies man employed under Will Patton's Red Rafferty, a shady land developer.

The rather self-indulgent script from Rudolph also has Warren as a pill popping, screechy lounge vocalist, mocked by Lane's Kirk Stans.  Also key to the story and part of an extortion plot is Nolte's corrupt Senator Avery who has a lengthy scene with Trixie, memorable in how mis-communication leads to understanding.


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