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With: Emily Watson, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Nolte, Nathan Lane, Brittany Murphy, Lesley Ann Warren, Will Patton, Stephen Lang, Mark Acheson, Vincent Gale, Jason Schombing, Robert Moloney, Troy Yorke
Written by: Alan Rudolph, based on a story by Alan Rudolph, John Binder
Directed by: Alan Rudolph
MPAA Rating: R for some language, sexuality and violence
Running Time: 116
Date: 06/28/2000

Trixie (2000)

1 Star (out of 4)

Talking Trash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Alan Rudolph is a great experimenter. With director Robert Altman acting as his mentor (and producer), he ought to feel free enough to try anything. His pictures sometimes feel like he's filmed whatever whim or notion flies into his head, without even a second thought. Sometimes this yields interesting and successful films like Choose Me (1984) and Mortal Thoughts (1991). But other times it results in unwatchable failures like Made in Heaven (1987) and Equinox (1993). I'm afraid his new effort, Trixie, is one of the latter.

Emily Watson is a delightful actress who, it seems, can pull off any number of roles, but not even she can save this title character. Trixie is a police detective who somehow mangles every coinable phrase in the English language, like "take the bull by the tail," "fish or get off the pot," "there are brighter clouds ahead," or "I'm a little green behind the ears." When we first hear one of her little sayings, we perk up. When we next hear it, we laugh. Maybe we laugh another five or six times. But then we stop laughing and there's another hour and forty-five minutes to go.

In the movie, Trixie gets stationed in a sleazy casino in a small town somewhere and gets involved in a murder case, though for the life of me I can't really remember what happens, or even who is murdered. The cast of characters, with less depth than a game of Clue includes: Lesley Ann Warren as a slutty showgirl who throws herself at rich, crooked politicians; Nick Nolte as a rich, crooked politician; Dermot Mulroney as a gambling womanizer; and Brittany Murphy as a young up-and-coming slutty showgirl. These actors all just pour on the gusto and go right over the top. The veterans, Warren and Nolte, who really should know better, are the worst. Only Nathan Lane seems at home as a sleazy lounge performer, doing his Vaudeville jokes and impressions. I'd almost see the movie again just for him.

Trixie should have been a welcome relief to the tediously bad big budget fare this summer, but instead it's a tediously bad art house movie. If I didn't know that Rudolph is a 25-year veteran filmmaker I'd say he's the one that's "green behind the ears."

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