Saturday, October 17, 2009

Poor White Trash (2001)

Directed by Michael Addis
Starring Sean Young, Jaime Pressly, Jason London, William Devane
Rated R

USA

“But mom, our lawyer was hammered!”
“Yeah, well, sober lawyers are out of our price range.”

Jaime Pressly is a unique actress. She is boner inducing and terrifying in equal handfuls, and she appears to play herself - pissed-off, sexually ferocious, chain-smoky - in nearly every role she takes on, from My Name is Earl's trailer park princess Joy to a host of snarly maneaters in B- flicks as diverse as the Jerry Springer-driven Ringmaster (1998), the horny college idiot-fest Tomcats (2001), and the Spade-d mullet-riot Adventures of Joe Dirt (2001). So far, she has shown virtually no real ability for Some would call this typecasting. I would call it authenticity. Suffice to say, just about anything she’s been in is worth seeking out, especially if you're big on hayseed floozies in skintight jeans with attitude problems. And who isn’t?

Jaime does not star in Poor White Trash, even though it sure does sound like something she’d star in. This is a bit misleading on the part of the filmmakers, since she is, after all, the focal point of the cover, staring out at you with hateful, glassy eyes, a cigarette between her fingers, a shotgun on her shoulders, and her taut belly glistening in the sun. There are tiny little figures behind her, but they seem insignificant. I mean, they are tiny, after all. The whole package looks like a non-stop barrage of Pressly-led redneck mayhem. However, Jaime’s only in like, 3 scenes, for a total of about 10 minutes of PWT’s running time. Bummer.

It’s ok, tho, because the movie still rocks. It’s a rip-off, but it’s a good one. Poor White Trash (not to be confused with the backwoods b-movie of the same name from 1957, or any of my relatives from the sticks) involves a frazzled MILF (Young), her dumb-ass teenage son, his buddy, their high school arch-nemesis (also mom’s boyfriend), a crooked lawyer (also buddy’s grandpa) and his slutty young wife (Pressly, also MILF boyfriend’s old girlfriend) and their ham-fisted, week-long crime-spree. It’s as incestuous as you might expect a movie called Poor White Trash to be, and it’s also a rollicking good time, with plenty of snarky laughs. The plot goes kinda like this:

Mike (Tony Denman) is a college-bound kid slumming around for one last hot lazy summer with his pal Lenny (Jacob Tierney). I dunno where they’re supposed to be, as they never really say, but it looks like it could be, uh, Kansas? Reno? (I’m from Boston, man, so I can’t really tell.) Anyway, one day the fellas are messing around at the convenience store, trying to score some brew, when they have a run-in with the counter guy, and end up blowing up his car. They get busted, and, to pay for legal fees, they decide to rob the local Mr. Snack. And since they are dumb-asses, their mom (and her youngstuff boyfriend) decide to help them out. However, there are several double-crossers in their ranks, and thusly, comic chaos reigns.

The best part of Poor White Trash is all the great snippets of dialogue peppered throughout the story. Grampa Ron Lake, the mall lawyer (the awesome William Devane), introduces his foxy new wife (Pressly) to grandson Lenny with a pleasant, “So, dickhead, what do you think of your grandma’s ass?” Lenny, in a moment of weakness, confesses his attraction to his best friend’s mom (Young), with “Linda, I think you’re hotter than donut grease.” Lake hears the whole sorry crime story in his office and shakes his head. “To be honest, my resolve to keep these two gorgeous young boys out of jail is…weak”. Stuff like that.


The script is just a rapid-fire series of Foghorn Leghorn-styled come-backs and put-downs, and ya gotta watch this one at least twice to catch ‘em all. Plot-wise, it’s piffle, but the lines are killer, Pressly - when she’s actually in the movie- is hot like a tin-trailer roof, the ageless Sean Young is manic and sexy, and Devane is super-cool. Oh, and it’s also got Danielle Harris, the little girl from the Halloween 4 and 5 (and Rob Zombie's Halloweens, all tramped-up as a Mr. Snack girl.

Although Poor White Trash is rated “R”, there’s very little in it to justify the rating, really. There’s no tits or blood to speak of, just lots of cussing, drawled-out in regionally unspecified hick-ese. Usually I’m not big on flicks that don’t deliver the grosseries, if ya know what I mean, but this ‘un managed to charm me anyway. If rural hipster hijinx and evil redneck chicks with shotguns sounds like a good time to you, then check out Poor White Trash for yourself. And I don’t mean your next-door neighbors.

- Ken McIntyre

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