Movie Magazine International

U Turn

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Pete Dunn



Let's see, Director...Oliver Stone...check.

Cast...Sean Penn..."Good Man Walking."

Jennifer Lopez...Hot in "Selena."

Nick Nolte...He's been around for more than 48 hours.

Billy Bob Thornton...Mmmm hmmmm. I like his acting...

Cinematographer....Looks good.

Location... Superior -- Arizona, that is!

Well, the movie looks like a go. With the cast, director, cinematographer and location this film looks like a real hootenanny, but in the immortal words of Wayne and Garth: NOT!!!!

The movie "U Turn" is Oliver Stone's latest foray into the field of moviemaking. Unfortunately, this is a field that Stone should have permanently left about five years ago. "U Turn" is the story of Bobby Cooper, played by Sean Penn. Bobby is a gambler pursued by the Russian Mafia for not paying off his gambling debts. Bobby has finally raised the $30,000 to pay them back, but while on his way to their location in Las Vegas, his car stalls in the small town of Superior, Arizona.

The rest of the movie tries to play like a black comedy or a tragedy. Bobby can't find a way out of Superior. Murphy's law gusts in at full force as you watch Bobby's life gradually skid off a cliff. Bobby meets the beautiful Grace McKenna (Jennifer Lopez) and starts putting the moves on her. But she has a husband (played by Nick Nolte) who doesnít take kindly to strangers making out with his wife, and he gives Bobby the old right hook. Tragedy and despair strike Bobby at every corner, and the movie is an adventure watching Bobby's downward spiral.

Some people (e.g. those without taste) may like this type of movie. I did not. For the movie to work, the audience must care about Bobby and his predicament. I didn't. He wasn't a particularly friendly or nice guy, and if he did die or get hurt, so what? The great tragedies of the world deal with noble figures (i.e. King Lear or MacBeth) who are brought down to Earth by their follies. It is interesting to watch the downfall of a great individual or a societal figure above our niche in the social fabric of our community. It is not funny or interesting to watch the downfall of an unfriendly gambler who probably deserves half of the things that happen to him. He is not a likable drunk like Nicholas Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas." I am not making moral judgments here on gamblers, just on the character of Bobby Cooper, who was an unlikable gambler.

For those planning on seeing this movie, I would suggest taking a u-turn -- out of the waiting line for the movie.

© 1998 - Pete Dunn - Air Date: 10/97

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