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If you speak French, you'll find looking for inconsistencies in the subtitles more entertaining than what's going on onscreen. For any good film, I take well over a page of notes. For this one, I took less than half a page. 'Nuff said? Perhaps not. How can a film with Willem Dafoe as a strip club owner, and with Bob Hoskins, be boring? Well, this one is. How disappointing. Dafoe does more acting (and we learn more about his character) in the first scene of To Live and Die in L.A. than he does in this entire film. Dafoe as Ray Ruby, owner of the Paradise Club; Hoskins as the Baron (greeter / maître d' / bouncer); and Matthew Modine as Johnnie Ruby, the Salon King are nothing special here. On the other hand, Sylvia Miles as landlady Lilian Murray; and Stefania Rocca as Debby, a dancer who is also a screenwriter, are decent and believeable.

As to the plot, there isn't much of one—nothing out of the ordinary happens here, nothing unexpected. There's no more conflict, no more actual heartfelt emotion at Ray's Paradise Club than there is at your own neighbourhood bar or pool hall. When a hundred seconds of plot are stretched out to a hundred minutes of film, that is NOT 'a good thing.' Likewise when any five minutes of a film look essentially the same as any other five minutes.

The sole exception is Selena Khoo as Leila, a dancer who is also an accomplished pianist. She should've been onscreen a half hour more than she was. Oh well, maybe in the sequel. Oh, whom am I kidding? There isn't going to be a sequel. God, I hope not.

Go Go Tales (2007), Bellatrix Media, 100 mins. Director / Writer, Abel Ferrara. I give this film 2 stars (out of 4).




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