Deuces Wild (2002)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Urban Drama  |   Release Date - May 3, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Set during a Brooklyn summer heat wave and populated with the sort of characters that call their boozy mother "Ma" and fret about their "turf," one can safely pinpoint director Scott Kalvert's influences in creating this hammy mishmash of clich├ęs and Gen X cameos: The Outsiders (1983), West Side Story (1961), The Lords of Flatbush (1974), and even The Godfather (1972). Unfortunately for the director and his cast, brimming as it is with fresh-faced early 21st century talent anachronistically thrust into the stereotypes of pulp drama from four decades earlier, the material lacks the punch, resonance, and audacity of its forbears. Sappy dialogue, an overabundance of characters (some of whom appear and disappear seemingly at random), and an instantly forgettable crisis (connect the dots between a drug overdose, a turf war, a rape, and a dysfunctional family feud at your peril), and the flick ends up playing as a desperate wannabe, simultaneously leeching from its betters and pleading to be taken as seriously as they. Only Brad Renfro, in the role of a dough-faced hothead in need of some serious anger management and impulse control therapy, seems to "get" the Z-grade tone of the material here and plays the bejeesus out of his hilariously lunkheaded role with extra relish. But lead Stephen Dorff comes off as simply befuddled, unable to seem convincing even when making out with sexy Sopranos starlet Drea de Matteo, while Matt Dillon slums in what amounts to essentially a cameo role that may be meant to remind us of his glory days. Deuces Wild should provide some nice highlights for Renfro's clip reel, but otherwise it's a bore.