Saturday, August 3, 2013

Green Light Special

Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Katie Holmes, Sarah Polley, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, Breckin Meyer, Taye Diggs, William Fichtner, Jane Krakowski
Released: April 9, 1999

I first saw this movie when it was released on video and hadn't seen it since, so a good 13 years has elapsed between viewings. This is one of those movies where you get to see three different story lines from three different group of characters and all of them, of course, are all tied together.

The first story involves a group of teens who work as clerks at a grocery store. It's almost Christmas, but Ronna (Sarah Polley) is not in the Christmas spirit because she's about to get evicted and needs money for her rent. A co-worker, Simon, tells her she can have his shift because he wants to go to Vegas with his friends and this way he'll be able to go, so it's a win/win situation for both of them, according to him. She also works with Joey Potter, oops, I mean Claire (Katie Holmes who plays her in a very Joey Potter-esque way) and Mannie and while on break they play this game which I know as the Celebrity Game. It's where one person starts off with a celebrity, say, Katie Holmes, and the next person has to name another celeb who starts with the last letter of the previous one, so the next one would have to start with an S, like Sandra Bullock, then the next one would be Kevin Costner, then the next one would be Richard Gere, and well, you get the idea! My college camp friends and I used to play that game all the time just randomly. It really helps pass the time! They were playing it a little bit differently as they were only using dead celebrities and Mannie gets stuck on Malcolm X!

Two young good-looking amateur actors (Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf) come in looking to score some ecstasy from Simon, but since he's not there, they go to Ronna and ask her if she can get them the drugs. She sees this as an opportunity to make some money and tells them she will have the drugs for them by the end of the night. She, Claire, and Mannie go to Simon's drug dealer, Todd (Timothy Olyphant) and because she has no money, she leaves Claire with this drug dealer they've just met as insurance that she'll be back to pay him the money that she owes him. Understandably, Claire is not happy about this, but Ronna guilt trips her into staying, saying how she's going to be homeless tomorrow on Christmas if she can't pay for her rent and how much she needs this money.

When she gets to the address the young actors gave her, they are there with an older guy (William Fichtner) who seems really interested in the drugs and Ronna, getting a signal from one of the actors that she feels like something is up, denies having any drugs, then asks to use the bathroom where she flushes them down the toilet. She replaces them with aspirin she buys at a drug store and marks on them with a pen. She and Mannie go back to Todd's place where she tells him the deal didn't work out, gives him back the pills, takes Claire, and gets out of there before he can realize he's been ripped off.

They go to a rave where she starts selling other over the counter medicine she bought and pretends they are really hard core drugs and charges hefty prices and pretty soon she is rolling in the dough. They crash a van filled with teens getting high and Ronna introduces herself as Donna and Claire as Kelly. I totally took that to be a Beverly Hills, 90210 shoutout!

It doesn't take long before Todd realizes he's been screwed over and after talking to Simon on the phone, he knows where they are and finds Ronna out in the parking lot. He is about to kill her when she is hit by a car, then tossed into a riverbank. And that's where the first story ends...

The second arc follows Simon on his trip to Las Vegas with his three friends (Breckin Meyer and Taye Diggs being two of them). He crashes a wedding and meets two bridesmaids and has a menage-a trios with them, but because they've been toking up, one of their joints that is still lit, is dropped on the floors and the curtain catches on fire and pretty soon the whole room is on fire. A stoned Simon realizes what's going on and he grabs two pillows and runs, butt-naked to the elevator and grabs Marcus, the friend played by Taye Diggs. Their other two friends are sick with food poisoning from the shrimp they ate at the hotel's buffet.

There's an ongoing gag that everyone thinks Marcus is a valet because of the way he dresses so when they head out of the hotel, a guy with a red convertible tosses him the keys and tells him to park it anywhere. Simon and Marcus steal the car and Simon finds a gun in the glove department. Being guys, they go to a strip club and get into trouble with the owner after Simon touches the girl who's giving him a private lap dance even though they've both been told specifically not to touch the girls. The owner gets into a fight with them and Simon, who has the gun with him, shoots the owner in the arm. I can't remember why, but Simon had Todd's credit card which he used at the club so the owner thinks Todd is the one who shot him. He and Marcus grab their other friends and they make their escape. Simon says they shouldn't stop until they reach Mexico, but Marcus tells him as long as they go home they'll be okay.

And then we have our third and final story which revolves around the two young actors, Adam and Zach who are a gay couple. They are working undercover for Fichtner's cop and that's why they need the pills. They know Simon has been selling them and want to bust him, but their plan is askew when he's not there. Zach feels it's not right to get Ronna in trouble even though Ficthner tells him she's still a drug dealer even if this is her first time, so he gives her a sign that she should dump the pills.

They both confess that they've cheated on the other and they find out they both cheated with the same guy. They are the ones at the rave who did a hit and run on Ronna. They see Todd there with his gun and get out of there and discuss what just happened at a gas station. One of them reason that even if the girl was still alive, the guy with the gun was going to kill her anyway, so either way she would be dead. Adam realizes they are still wearing their wires and freaks out that somebody will hear their conversation. They decide to go back to the scene to see if the girl is still alive. Lucky for them she is!

So yeah, this movie is action-packed, has some good laughs, and can get quite dark at times. I feel like I pretty much told the entire plot, but there's a lot of stuff I left out too! A before-she-was-famous Melissa McCarthy has a small cameo as someone who is a big fan of the soap opera Zack and Adam star in. And any movie that plays "Steal My Sunshine" (remember that 1999 one hit wonder classic?) is okay in my book! 

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