There's No Fish Food in Heaven

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Eleanor Gaver

REVIEWED: 03-29-99

Sexy and somewhat surreal, There's No Fish Food in Heaven is a romantic comedy in which all of the real romance comes after the female lead stabs the male lead in the head. The plot, despite such auspicious beginnings, is relatively weak, but the true strength of this film lies elsewhere. Following the stabber Mona (Fairuza Balk), the film leads us through a bizarre trail of paintings that foreshadow events, a brief sexual affair with the devil, Mona's quest for the body of the stabbing victim (Noah Taylor), and past a series of characters obviously created in a story conference by Quentin Tarantino, William S. Burroughs, and Charles Dickens. The true brilliance of the film rests with these characters, who range from pregnant cousin Rosie (Debi Mazar) and Mona's decoupaging mother to a musically inclined minister Pete and a carjacking poet -- a character who needs to recur in every one of director Eleanor Gaver's films. These cleverly constructed characters, captured in Gaver's sunnily decrepit Los Angeles, make Fish Food excellent escapist fare.

--Matt Williams

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