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Scorched (2002).

October 2, 2009

The Scoop:
Let’s cut to the chase. Gavin Grazer and Joe Wein’s film “Scorched” is just another one of those self-consciously quirky indie comedies that tries too hard to be clever for its own good.

In a nondescript California desert town (apparently named Desert, California), three disgruntled employees of the local bank each plot come up with their own plans to rob the bank, and execute their heists on the same weekend. There’s Stewart (Paolo Costanzo) and his numbskull pal Max (David Krumholtz) who “borrow” $250,000 from the mini-vault to use on an all-or-nothing roulette bet in Las Vegas. Sheila (Alicia Silverstone) enlists new firefighter pal Max (Ivan Sergei) to empty out the ATMs to get back at her ex-boyfriend, the douchebag bank manager Rick (Joshua Leonard). And then there’s Woody Harrelson in the role he was born to play — Woods, the spaced-out desert rat assistant manager who wants to get revenge on infomercial con artist Mr. Merchant (John Cleese) by cleaning out his safe deposit box. Also mixed up in the shenanigans are new employee Doleman (Marcus Thomas) and his free-spirited pal Shmally (Rachel Leigh Cook).

The plot, which relies on such improbabilities as the banks lack of 24/7 video cameras and the fact that ducks live wild in the desert, plays out pretty much as you’d expect. The comedy is pretty half-baked, unless your idea of fun is watching Woody Harrelson try to hold his own while acting opposite various animals. And, except for Silverstone and Costanzo, everyone else pretty much mails it in.

Sure, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes of your life. But there are also lots of better things you can do with your time than spending it on this well-meaning but forgettable trifle.

Best Bit:
Jeffrey Tambor’s cameo as the spaced-out bank executive.

Side Note:
The horned toad Woods is talking to in the desert at the beginning is actually an Australian bearded dragon, which is not native to California.

Companion Viewing:
“Love and a .45” (1994).


Take a Look:
Something put together by a Rachel Leigh Cook fanboy:

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