Life in the Fast Lane (1998)
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I watched it last night and enjoyed it. It's as simple as that.
I rented it (under the title, "Life in the Fast Lane") mainly because Fairuza Balk is in it. I wish she had a better story and script to work with. The film is mediocre at best.
I can't help but wonder what all of the people who wrote bad reviews expected to see. This is one of those movies like "My Boyfriend's Back" or a John Waters opus where the characters don't function in a normal semblance of reality - they're all one-note and their actions/reactions are often absurd. And on top of that, it's low-budget fantasy, so some of the FX (as well as Debi Mazar's wig) are somewhat lacking... but that sorta adds to the fun.
The story juts along at its own pace and in its own direction, and I can't say that I ever anticipated what was coming next - though the ending was a little cliché (not that I could think of a more suitable one). Balk is likable as always as the leading lady and Taylor is charming as her dead weight. Dempsey was well-cast but he only appears in a few scenes and doesn't utter a single syllable. And renowned scene-stealer Jeffrey Jones also deserves mention for his supporting role as a minister. Unfortunately, Leoni plays it pretty broad and Mazar was uncharacteristically restrained (actually it feels like they should've switched parts).
"Life in the Fast Lane" was cute, it held my interest throughout and made me chuckle quite a few times. I couldn't really ask for more from such a dopey little comedy... except for maybe a better title ("There's No Fish Food in Heaven" wasn't much better, but at least it made sense for the film).
Years ago, I worked in a video store. Not a Blockbuster, but an actual video store, a Mom 'n Pop video store. Like all private businesses, you can't afford to keep up with the competition, and in order to carry a full inventory, we would supplement our selection with independent cinema, for better or worse. This movie was one of those titles. I remember thinking this was one of those quirky, meet-cute comedies that would be ridiculous, indeed, but somehow parasitically enjoyable. I watched about fourteen minutes of the film before I realized I had been had. About a week later, a customer had come to the store and I was surprised to see that she was returning the film. Unable to resist, I asked her what she thought about the movie. The woman, a 40-something soccer mom, politely asked: "Can I have my money back? The other guy said this movie was hilarious." I wasn't the manager, but I obliged her and gave her the $2.65 refund. I did this not because she rented the movie, but because she actually watched the whole thing.
The young and hopeful aspirations of an entire filmmaking population could benefit from watching this film (indeed, countless more like it). Think about what you're doing; don't film something that is only a half-imaged abortion of an idea.