Reviewed at L.A. Independent Film Festival, April 15, 2000. Running time: 72 MIN.
With: Lenny “The Guv’nor” McLean, Terence “The Black Prince” Buckley, Mike and Frank DeMaio, Jordan Maldonado, Alan Crosley, Homer “Omar” Cook.
Helmer Steven Cantor has long been working lovingly on “Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope,” and though it nabbed L.A. Indie fest’s audience award for best feature, docu remains a choppy, roughly paced look inside the world of bouncers. Largely dependent on the sheer force and personality of its subjects, project eschews cynicism for an affectionate portrait gallery of tough men with generally kind souls. Despite award, pic lacks filmmaking quality and provocative nature to give it theatrical punch beyond highly specialized urban venues.
Bouncers here come in one size (big) and all types, from a gentle giant like Terence “The Black Prince” Buckley (whose efforts landing a job with an upscale Manhattan club provide pic with a rooting interest) to immensely entertaining Brit bouncer legend Lenny “The Guv’nor” McLean, who lounges in his back yard next to his bulldog mascot and volubly dismisses the younger generation. Bouncer twins Mike and Frank DeMaio are viewed somewhat condescendingly, especially when they peruse their album on hero Sly Stallone. Anticipated anecdotes of wild club escapades and encounters never materialize, and most scenes are cut much too short to generate any kind of momentum.