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Suckers

Co-producers, Jane Gordon, Aki Komine.

Co-producers, Jane Gordon, Aki Komine.

Directed, edited by Roger Nygard. Screenplay, Nygard, Joe Yannetty. Camera (color), Nathan Hope; music, Walter Werzowa, Jimmie Wood, J.J. Holiday, Billy Sullivan; production designer, Shay Austin; art director, Naomi Alpert; costume designer, Antoinette Squeo; casting, Mark Tillman. Reviewed at AFI screening room, L.A., Oct. 13, 1999. (In AFI/L.A. Film Festival — New Directions.) Running time: 86 MIN.

With: Daniel Benzali, Louis Mandylor, Lori Loughlin, David A. Brooks, William Shockley, Michael D. Roberts, Wayne Duvall, Eli Danker, BT, Darren Gray Ward.

The shift toward buying cars online should come not a moment too soon if half of what’s depicted about car salesmen in this cynical black comedy is true. Immeasurably lifted from the mediocre by Daniel Benzali’s crackling, snarling bulldog of a performance, pic’s comedy is defused by accepted notion that car hucksters practice barely legalized thievery; plotline of corruption of a nice guy comes off as a forced attempt to pump up the action. Bad deal is sealed for pic in theatrical, but look for bonuses in small-screen arena.

Desperate for work, Bobby (Louis Mandylor) walks into the lion’s den of fictional Southside Motors in L.A., where Benzali’s fire-breathing head of sales Reggie thinks he’s Detroit’s answer to R. Lee Ermey in “Full Metal Jacket.” Reggie doesn’t know Bobby has a serious debt to loan sharks Chad (David A. Brooks) and Everett (William Shockley) — the name joke hardly registers onscreen. Amusing antics between sales force and customers are better realized by helmer Roger Nygard and co-scripter and ex-salesman Joe Yannetty than are plotlines, which converge in a crude Tarantino-esque standoff. Brisk pacing offsets tech work, which isn’t always cherry.

Suckers

(COMEDY)

Production: A Neo Motion Pictures presentation of a Neo Art and Logic production. Produced by W.K. Border. Executive producers, Joel Soisson, Michael Leahy, Michael Peyser.

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