Reach The Rock

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Reach The Rock

Just how bad must a John Hughes-scripted film be to receive only the most marginal and arbitrary limited theatrical release? Pretty fucking bad, if the molasses-slow, deadly dull small-town comedy-drama Reach The Rock is any indication. Directed by former Hughes assistant William Ryan without any eye for small-town minutiae, the film stars bland newcomer Alessandro Nivola as a small-town loser who smashes a bunch of store windows, is arrested, goes to jail, escapes from jail, escapes back into jail, escapes from jail again, cunningly locks both the sheriff and his deputy in jail at different times, and learns a valuable lesson about life. While it's possible that Hughes has made worse films than Reach The Rock, he's never made one quite as boring or lifeless. Featuring the least charismatic cinematic anti-hero this side of Vanilla Ice in Cool As Ice, Reach The Rock is subtlety-free fare in which characters never leave unsaid what they can make irritatingly explicit. Resembling less a film than an ineptly staged community-theater production, the movie takes place in one of those small towns where nobody except for its wealthiest citizens is apparently allowed to leave, and people still talk unironically about being from the wrong side of the tracks. True, Reach The Rock does feature an extraordinarily pretty score from Chicago post-rock icon John McEntire but, pleasant background music aside, it's the cinematic equivalent of a long, forgettable evening spent hanging around the parking lot of a small-town convenience store.

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