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Feeling Minnesota Review

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Freddie, a former stripper, is about to marry the loutish Sam in payment of a debt. But when she falls for his brother Jjak, things get really complicated.

★★★★★

We're in white trash, washed-up lives, gas station and trashy pancake house middle America-land once again for Steven Baigelman's debut feature.

Keanu Reeves - in short hair quite thin mode - is Jjaks, the unfortunate victim of a typo on his birth certificate and even more unfortunate brother of Sam (D'Onofrio), an almost permanently pissed smalltime hood who's set to marry Freddie (Diaz). Weddings are, at the best of times, eventful affairs, and this one is no exception, with Jjaks humping the new bride before the cake's even been cut and the revolting brothers' mum popping her clogs at the reception.

Opting out of the wedding party with "looks like we're in for a road movie" inevitability the two new lust birds make a run for it, chased by the increasingly violent Sam out to reposess his new bride and the $25,000 they've thoughtfully lifted.

In fact, they only make it as far as a local motel and what follows is an hour of chaotic shoutin' an' shootin' as the two brothers row over the greenbacks and the girl, bite ears off and generally behave like the Gallagher brothers at home. Meanwhile, Freddie plays everyone off against everyone else and there's a hopelessly contrived murder sub-plot the outcome of which will be familiar to anyone passingly familiar with Blood Simple.

Reeves and Diaz make a pretty enough couple, he delivering his usual doe-eyed goof-off performance and she, predictably enough, wanting to climb into his pants at the slightest opportunity. But the brothers' deeply unpleasant constant scrapping, a slew of seriously implausible plot contortions, and a director who can't decide whether he's aiming for high comedy or gritty noirishness combine to shoot the whole caboodle squarely in the foot.

Despite an interesting premise and sterling cast, this is scrappy at best, betraying its director's lack of experience.