The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 17 - 24, 1998

[Boston Film Festival]

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Clay Pigeons

Clay Pigeons The serial-killer genre offers new directors a kind of target practice: go for the easy marks and you can show off your fancy shooting. That's the case in David Dobkin's debut feature, a blithe homicidal romp set in backwoods Montana that hits the bullseye on charm, cleverness, sharp performances, and glib humor but misses the substance target altogether. The film opens with some desert shooting practice that goes terribly wrong, and soon Clay Bidwell (Joaquin Phoenix in a nice balance of innocence and venality) has more dead bodies than he can handle. He serendipitously pals up with easy-going Earl (huge baby man Vince Vaughn, whose ferocity is intensified by his softness); Earl proves more than a great fishing and drinking buddy, however, and through him Clay begins to confront his own darker nature. At least, he would had Dobkin learned more from his film's more mordant predecessors, Red Rock West and Blood Simple. Still, Pigeons is worth a shot, if only for the dyspeptic hilarity of Janeane Garofalo as an FBI agent. Screens at the Copley Place Friday, September 18 at 5:30, 7:30, and 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 19 at noon and 3 p.m.

-- Peter Keough

Film Festival Feature Films

| The Witman Boys | The Cruise | Confessions of a Sexist Pig | Melting Pot | Pleasantville | Clay Pigeons | Waking Ned Devine | Blood, Guts, Bullets, & Octane | My Name is Joe | Six Ways to Sunday | The Theory of Flight | A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries | Down in the Delta | Children of Heaven | I Married a Strange Person | 20 Dates | Bandits |

More Boston Film Festival information, film descriptions, and show times

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