With Denise Richards as an oversexed bimbo, Elizabeth Berkley as an evil temptress and a Lisa Marie cameo as a vampy, drag-racing, small-town waitress, "Tail Lights Fade" might sound like it has some camp charm. Unfortunately, it doesn't. The Lisa Marie sequence is one of the few mildly entertaining moments in this interminable road-movie knockoff, which deserves to be ticketed for abysmal acting, a confused, pedestrian script and lackluster direction.

With Denise Richards as an oversexed bimbo, Elizabeth Berkley as an evil temptress and a Lisa Marie cameo as a vampy, drag-racing, small-town waitress, “Tail Lights Fade” might sound like it has some camp charm. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The Lisa Marie sequence is one of the few mildly entertaining moments in this interminable road-movie knockoff, which deserves to be ticketed for abysmal acting, a confused, pedestrian script and lackluster direction. Pic, currently playing in Canadian theaters, will face a fast fade from the bigscreen and sputter to the vid shelf, where it will generate some interest thanks to the presence of Richards and Berkley.

Goofy plot kicks off with Ben (Jaimz Woolvett) getting busted on pot-possession charges in Vancouver. His sister, Angie (Tanya Allen), decides she has to help out her bro by heading out to B.C. to get rid of Ben’s indoor weed plantation before the cops find it. Angie’s boyfriend, Cole (Breckin Meyer), offers to drive her from Toronto, and, in a remarkably silly twist, Cole’s pal and business partner, Bruce (Jake Busey), insists they race each other across the country — in vintage convertibles, no less. Angie and Cole take off, with Bruce and g.f. Wendy (Richards) in hot pursuit.

Along the way, they take a detour to race with diner waitress and drag-race vixen Kitty (Lisa Marie), hang out in a strip club and develop harebrained schemes to profit from Ben’s marijuana stash. Out West, Ben’s pal Eve (Berkley) is doing everything in her power to find the weed before everyone else does. En route, Angie and Cole come to the conclusion that they’re incompatible and spend endless amounts of time analyzing their relationship.

Helmer Malcolm Ingram lets the pic meander all over the stylistic map, moving aimlessly from tasteless comedy to teen soap opera and punky road fare, and he hasn’t much of a feel for any of the genres. Patchwork script never rises beyond B-movie cliches and fails to create recognizable characters.

The performances are generally as mundane as the material. Richards’ turn as busty airhead Wendy makes her perf in “The World Is Not Enough” seem positively inspired by comparison. The talented Allen, who was wonderful in the satirical CBC series “Newsroom,” tries her best to add some melancholic depth to the exercise, and Berkley at least looks like she’s having fun camping it up as sultry bad girl Eve. Tech credits are less than stellar.

Tail Lights Fade

Canadian

Production

A Motion Intl. release (in Canada) of a Cadence Entertainment production, with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm Canada, City-TV, British Columbia Film, Film Incentive B.C., the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Harold Greenberg Fund. (International sales: Motion Intl., Montreal.) Produced by Christine Haebler. Executive producer, Scott Kennedy. Co-producers, Shawn Williamson, Karen Powell. Directed by Malcolm Ingram. Screenplay, Matt Gissing.

With

Wendy - Denise Richards Cole - Breckin Meyer Bruce - Jake Busey Angie - Tanya Allen Eve - Elizabeth Berkley Ben - Jaimz Woolvett Kitty - Lisa Marie With: Ben Derrick, Douglas Hardwick, Marcus Hondro, Triston Leffler.
Camera (color), Brian Pearson; editor, Reginald Harkema; music, Neil Weisensel; production designer, Douglas Hardwick; costume designer, Margaret Lovenuik; art director, Patrick Banister; associate producers, Daegan Fryklind, Jennifer Moore. Reviewed at the Faubourg Cinema, Montreal, Dec. 10, 1999. Running time: 87 MIN.
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