Sunday, March 14, 2010

Released Tuesday on DVD: "Fix"

Grade: C-minus

Propelled by an eccentric cast of characters and increasingly seamy locations, Fix dashes headlong through Los Angeles with a little charm and a lot of verve.

Unfolding over a single, frantic day, the plot follows the efforts of two filmmakers, Milo (played by the director, Tao Ruspoli) and Bella (Olivia Wilde), to deliver Milo's junkie brother, Leo (Shawn Andrews), to rehab. The cost is $5,000 -- which none of the three have access to -- and the deadline is 8 p.m., after which Leo goes to jail. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Inspired by actual events in the director's life, Fix plays out in a rough-and-tumble, first-person filming style that challenges the eye and the stomach. The movie, however, never strains for hipness, and Ruspoli displays an aptitude for the play of light and shade that transforms familiar setups into something fresh. Entering a strange netherworld where a Ukrainian cat-toy maker grows weed in the back room and an English bulldog has significant value, Milo and Bella become unwilling accomplices to Leo's moneymaking schemes and hostages to his fearless narcissism. Naturally, they begin to enjoy themselves.

By turns vivid and grubby, sharp and distracted, Fix aligns its mood with the view (the ruins of the South Central Farm are noted with a moment of rueful silence) to deliver a love letter to Los Angeles as well as an ode to fraternal obligation.

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