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Film Review: ‘Snake & Mongoose’

This chintzy, awkward dramatization of a real-life racing rivalry is a real drag.

With:

Jesse Williams, Richard Blake, Ashley Hinshaw, Kim Shaw, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Fred Dryer, Tim Blake Nelson, Noah Wyle, Ian Ziering.

The drag-car races last only a few seconds, but the search for compelling material never ends in “Snake & Mongoose.” This chintzy, awkward dramatization of two decades in the congenial rivalry between racers Don “Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen leans so heavily on archival footage it begs to be reworked as a documentary. Aside from nostalgic appeal for racing aficionados, this clunker of a feature helming debut from Brit commercial director Wayne Holloway looks to be a nonstarter even in ancillary.

Script by Holloway and auto-industry journalist Alan Paradise spans two decades beginning in 1958, but generates no excitement from the limp on-and-off-the-track conflicts between earnest phenomenon Prudhomme (Jesse Williams) and fast-talking playboy McEwen (Richard Blake). A mutually beneficial sponsorship from Mattel’s Hot Wheels toys makes them icons in their field, but not enough to build a movie around. Rudimentary tech contributions, pedestrian performances and limited locations (countless conversations occur in front of the same trailer) accentuate the repetitive narrative and shoestring budget. Reliable pro Tim Blake Nelson contributes welcome energy as a fictional color commentator, but a collection of (immobilized) vintage race cars are the real stars.

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Film Review: 'Snake & Mongoose'

Reviewed on DVD, West Hollywood, Sept. 4, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 101 MIN.

Production:

A Rocky Mountain Pictures release of an Entertainment Universe production in association with Rhino Films and the National Hot Rod Assn. Produced by Robin Broidy, Stephen Nemeth. Executive producers, Elliott Broidy, Alan Paradise, Gunter Schaldach, Jesse Williams. Co-producers, Steven J. Brown, J. David Williams, Betsy Stahl, Eddie Michaels. Co-executive producers, Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen.

Crew:

Directed by Wayne Holloway. Screenplay, Alan Paradise, Holloway. Camera (color, HD), John Bailey; editor, Richard Halsey, Nicholas Wayman-Harris; music, Gary Barlough; music supervisors, Richard Burkhart, Richard Bennett, Barlough; production designer, John Mott; set decorator, Ryan Welsch; costume designer, Innana Bantu; sound, Jim Lakin; supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer, Michael J. McDonald; visual effects, Gorilla Pictures; stunt coordinator, Anthony Nanakornapanum; line producer, Doug Blake; associate producers, Skip Allum, Bob Angelotti, Michael Baumgarten, Jeff Burton, Dan Flynn, Ken Goldstein, Glenn Selig, Donald Slaiman, Reid Stover; assistant director, Sean Tippins; casting, Ronnie Yeskel.

With:

Jesse Williams, Richard Blake, Ashley Hinshaw, Kim Shaw, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Fred Dryer, Tim Blake Nelson, Noah Wyle, Ian Ziering.

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