Somewhere In The City
The direct-to-video dumping ground is generally where would-be cult films go to die quiet, peaceful deaths. Somewhere In The City is a fairly typical entry in that unfortunate genre, set in the most familiar of quirky-cult-film settings: the funky and chic neighborhoods of New York City. Bad-indie-film fixture Sandra Bernhard (whose specialty these days seems to be a sort of archly self-conscious curdled whimsy), Robocop 3 star and Hal Hartley favorite Robert John Burke, and Chris Isaak paramour Bai Ling head up the quirky cast, playing quirky outsiders leading quirky lives in a quirky neighborhood where quirky things are constantly happening. Aimlessly following the lives of a group that includes hapless would-be professional criminals (there's a demographic that needs a higher profile in indie films), a virginal illegal immigrant (quirky virgins, another underrepresented group), and some clueless Communists, Somewhere In The City seems to be aiming for a deadpan loopiness in the tradition of Hal Hartley by way of Jeunet and Caro, but instead suffers from chronic cuteness. A few scenes work, but the film tries to have it both ways, satirizing its lowlife outsiders while trying to milk their failure for unearned pathos. Somewhere In The City seems to have its heart in the right place, but it falls apart well before shameless former New York mayor Ed Koch shows up for an unfunny cameo.