Another Day in Paradise

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Larry Clark

REVIEWED: 03-01-99

Another day in Paradise, another indulgence in heroin chic from photographer-turned-director Larry Clark. This one lacks the rush of his controversial Kids of a couple of years back, and most of that film's relevance. It's a sentimentalized exploitation of squalor, a romanticizing of the druggie outlaw scene in the '70s Midwest that was covered with style and subversive insight 10 years ago by Gus Van Sant in Drugstore Cowboy -- and by Clark himself in his classic photo essay Tulsa.

Bobbie (emaciated Vincent Kartheiser, shot more often than not with his butt exposed like a baby with a drooping diaper) is a street kid with a taste for dope who does in an obese, vicious security guard (the film's only nod to official authority) while breaking into vending machines. Recuperating from injuries and on the lam, he and girlfriend Rosie (Natasha Warner Gregson, nodding out in her underwear) move in with aging junkie and thief Mel (James Woods, taking his producer credit as a cue to overact) and his moll Sidney (Melanie Griffith, miscast but engaging) to form one of those alternative families that movies so love to coddle as they set off on a Bonnie and Clyde spree of misdeeds and high spirits. Some low and high points along the way include Griffith wielding a shotgun and a hypo with equal devastation, gratuitous shots of unclad teenage bodies in the rictus of sex and drugs, a few worthily sardonic asides from Woods, and an arms-dealing preacher who seems to be straddling Taxi Driver and Wise Blood. After this stint in Paradise, it looks as if Clark, recently returned to rehab, might have lost it.

--Peter Keough

Capsule Reviews
Another Day in Paradise

Other Films by Larry Clark
Kids

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