As the most acclaimed director of his generation, Quentin Tarantino wouldn't come near pointless drivel like Destiny Turns on the Radio. But during his "I'm a director, but what I really want to do is act" phase -- which consumed several embarrassing years -- Tarantino clamored for the chance to deliver the film's brand of faux cool dialogue, beneath him as a writer yet beyond his abilities as a wannabe celluloid icon. In truth, he has refreshingly little screen time as Johnny Destiny, a Vegas hipster improbably conceived by an electrical storm in a magical swimming pool, who drives a classic car and refers to women as "birds." But functioning as a marketing hook to attract fans of his work doesn't serve Tarantino either, because this isn't material that anyone should want to affiliate themselves with. The film is more a comedy than anything in Tarantino's milieu, but just because it doesn't take itself seriously doesn't automatically earn it any good will. Installed as director after a mixed career of mid-level industry jobs, Jack Baran gets spoofy, scenery-chewing work from a cast of actors who should also know better. The whole outlaw-Lite, goofball comedy thing, touched up with Vegas iconography and misplaced mysticism, grows immediately tiresome. It's hard to believe something involving so much channeled effort and performative strain could be so dull.
by Derek Armstrong review