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Vice

Although he claims that 80% of his film's dialogue is based on a court transcript, filmmaker John Woodward applies such a stilted tone to "Vice" that it plays like a junior version of a David E. Kelley episode. Project was driven by helmer's anger at, specifically, Houston law enforcement's ill-spent resources on vice raids, targeting victimless crimes while violent crime rises. Serious intent is undermined by a comic approach erratically juggling satire, social commentary and slapstick, while scattershot manner obviously apes the Kelley style in all the wrong ways, resulting in blander-than-bland visuals. Wider fest prospects are dim, though some outlets in deep cable might take the case.

With:
With: Bo Hopkins, Maxine Bahns, Jeff Meek, Bellary Darden-Davis, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Irv Gorman, Mickey Jones, William Smith.

Although he claims that 80% of his film’s dialogue is based on a court transcript, filmmaker John Woodward applies such a stilted tone to “Vice” that it plays like a junior version of a David E. Kelley episode. Project was driven by helmer’s anger at, specifically, Houston law enforcement’s ill-spent resources on vice raids, targeting victimless crimes while violent crime rises. Serious intent is undermined by a comic approach erratically juggling satire, social commentary and slapstick, while scattershot manner obviously apes the Kelley style in all the wrong ways, resulting in blander-than-bland visuals. Wider fest prospects are dim, though some outlets in deep cable might take the case.

Action is restricted to a Houston courtroom and adjacent spaces as stripper Savannah (Maxine Bahns) is on trial for violation of city’s rigid “lewd conduct” statute. But despite an aggressive D.A. (Bellary Darden-Davis), it quickly becomes clear that Savannah has a potent case and defense team (Bo Hopkins and Jeff Meek). Thesping, plus some amusing one-liner absurdisms, are pic’s saving graces, with Irv Gorman and Mickey Jones as two good-ol’-boy vice cops nearly stealing the show.

Vice

Production: A Taz Films presentation. Produced by Tammy Stones. Executive producer, Brian Smith. Directed, written by John Woodward.

Crew: Camera (FotoKem color, 16mm), Bryan Godwin; editor, Tiger Senese; music, David Barker; production designer, Melinda Eppler; art director, Steve Blackburn; costume designer, Erin Farrell. Reviewed at Dances With Films Film Festival, West Hollywood, June 29, 2000. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Bo Hopkins, Maxine Bahns, Jeff Meek, Bellary Darden-Davis, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Irv Gorman, Mickey Jones, William Smith.

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