Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movie Review: Hollywood Knights 2 ½ Stars

The late-fifties/early-sixties nostalgia craze of the late-seventies/early-eighties produced a small handful of marvelous little films, replete with hot rods, duck ass haircuts, and rock-and-roll oldies soundtracks that indelibly stamped a revisionist image of days-gone-by into our consciousness. Films like Diner and American Graffiti were rich mosaics of hilarious episodes, bittersweet paeans to that age at the brink between adolescence and adulthood.

Hollywood Knights was a product of the same zeitgeist that germinated Diner and American Graffiti, but writer/director Floyd Mutrux’s hoodoo was full of bad juju. The wizardry necessary to string together a series of marginally-related events into episodes that flowed magically into a story escaped Mutrux, and instead, Hollywood Knights was jumbled mess of gutter-humor comic bits and glommed-on social commentary.

It’s unfortunate, too, because at its essence Hollywood Knights has everything going for it. A car club, the Hollywood Knights, congregates at the local all-night drive-in restaurant to smoke, drink, fool around, pull pranks and mostly to show off their rides. However, the snooty and snobbish of Beverly Hills are forcing the drive-in to close. The last night of its existence coincides with the Hollywood Knights’ pledge class initiation and the high school pep rally. It is also the night before one of their elders ships off as an “advisor” to Vietnam.

But instead of exploring these moments with any depth, Hollywood Knights is a collection of unfunny yuks, including a farted rendition of “Volare.”

Hollywood Knights is best remembered for being the launching pad of several soon-to-be stars including Michelle Pfeiffer, Tony Danza, Fran Drescher and Robert Wuhl, but what is even more remarkable is the number of careers it permanently stalled. There is plenty of hot rods, DA’s and rock-and-roll in Hollywood Knights, but little else.

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