could possibly liken lycanthropy to puberty because they both involve dramatic
physical transformation. It is a dubious
comparison, but evidently it was enough for writer-director Bradley Gray Rust
to build a film around. As a result, love
is rather messy in several ways for two young women in Jack & Diane (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.
dresses like Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In. Tomboyish Jack dresses like Tim Allen on Home Improvement. However, when the two hipsters see each other,
it is love at first gawk. Lost in
Manhattan not far from Evacuation Zone A, the visiting Diane accepts Jack’s
offer of hospitality. The British Diane
seems to exist in a state of arrested development, but it evidently works for
the tough-on-the-outside-needy-on-the-inside Jack. Yet, just as their whirlwind romance begins,
miscommunication and Diane’s meddling aunt threaten to tear it asunder.
between these kids might be dangerous though.
In moments of extreme emotional agitation Diane transforms into a
werewolf—but, not really. For the most
part, the lycanthropy is metaphorical, with only occasional hints that these
trippy interludes have real consequences.
At least they look distinctive, animated by the celebrated Quay Brothers
in a style that is better described as macabre than frightening.
it is a wonder Rust has not been picketed by the Hollywood thought police,
considering J&D essentially
equates its characters’ lesbianism with something explicitly monstrous. However, he handles their relationship with
keen sensitivity and reasonably good taste.
Indeed, J&D is being
touted as the lesbian werewolf movie, but it is likely to disappoint fanboys
hoping for either sort of exploitation.
J&D is your basic downtown
indie. It is not mumblecore, but you can
see it from here. Still, the earnest
sincerity co-leads Juno Temple and an unrecognizable Riley Keough (Elvis’s
granddaughter) bring to their characters shines through strikingly. Unfortunately, they are not well served by
some overripe dialogue and the rather laborious pace.
If you were wondering, the Mellencamp song never
appears on the J&D soundtrack and
the ex-Johnny Cougar is reportedly not thrilled by the association. Be that as it may, the film itself is not
terrible, but it is far from a cohesive whole.
The Quays and particularly Keough did some fine work, but the concept
remains only half-developed. Fans of the
animators should find it worth checking out, but they can safely wait for
Netflix and the like. For the curious, Jack & Diane opens tomorrow (11/2)
in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Quay Brothers, Riley Keough, Werewolf movies