Deuces Wild

Starring:
  • Cecil B. Demented
  • The Sopranos Equivalent of Fran Drescher
  • "West Side Story" Without All That Stupid Singing

 

Directed by

"I know you guys think I'm lying, but Denise Richards and Neve Campbell were really doing it with me!"

The Outsiders Redux

Much of the past three or four years of Francis Ford Coppola's life has been dedicated to the exhausting task of reduxing Apocalypse Now, thus officially bringing to the world Kurtz's angry reading of an article from Time magazine; a very bourgeois dinner party for Willard; some more swamp time with Chef, Lance, and Clean; and, not in the least, a bartered session of heavy petting with the Playboy Bunnies for Willard and the boys. The project was arduous, important work, or at least that's what James Lipton says. I recently caught the Coppola episode of "Inside the Actor's Studio," which got me to wondering: Whose job is it to redux the rest of the Coppola canon? Surely there's some hidden subtext in Jack that additional footage of Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, and Don Novello—properly edited, of course—would finally unlock the secret mysteries of the film. More importantly, I wondered to whose charge it would fall to tackle Coppola's S.E. Hinton period in the early eighties.

The answer now seems obvious: The mysteriously unbusy Matt Dillon, in the wake of One Night at McCool's, There's Something About Mary, and Wild Things, found the time to show up for three scenes in Deuces Wild. Though uncredited as a director, certainly Dillon contributed his knowledge of young thugs and street gangs to this Romeo and Juliet derivative, which can only be described as West Side Story without the singing. Imagine, if you dare, The Outsiders, but replace Matt Dillon and Patrick Swayze with those two guys from O.C. and Stiggs, and replace Diane Lane with a young Fran Drescher. Goodness, it's hard to "stay gold" and not make fun of The Outsiders, but as bad as that movie is, Deuces Wild is certainly worse. Of course, The Outsiders is most significant for Coppola's precocious cast, but I cannot possibly imagine anyone from Deuces Wild achieving a career that would even match C. Thomas Howell's (To admit, one of my favorite really bad movies of all time is Soul Man.) Really, is Brad Renfro even capable of embodying Ponyboy Curtis?

Furthermore, Stephen Dorff is no Matt "Dally" Dillon; Balthasar Getty is no Patrick "Darry" Swayze; Norman Reedus is no Tom "Steve Randall" Cruise. Do we even need to suggest that Johnny Knoxville is no Ralph "Johnny Cade" Macchio or Rob "Sodapop Curtis" Lowe? As said before, Brad Renfro gets the Ponyboy role, and the object of his star-crossed desire is Fairuza Balk, who gets the Cherry Valance role. Unfaithful should remind us that Balk is no Diane Lane, so comparisons to Natalie "Maria" Wood from West Side Story are like saying James "Texas Rangers" Van Der Beek is no John Wayne. But enough about how lame this cast is; let us speak of the lameness of the script. It does nothing new with the old story, except to show fisticuffs in this sort of stop-go slow motion that makes the gang rumbles look like they're being streamed over a 28K modem. That's really all you need to know about Deuces Wild, except that their gang is named "The Deuces" because it would be really stupid to have a movie named Deuces Wild and the gang not be named "The Deuces." What a disappointment from Scott Kalvert, whose previous work includes The Basketball Diaries. Coppola should have bought the script, gathered the Greasers and Soces (most of whom aren't busy), and turned the project over to Matt Dillon. He's got the time.

The Pitch:
2 West Side Story
Minus
 
1 Natalie Wood
Plus
 
The Outsiders
Equals
   
1 Deuces Wild
See It For:
The Deuces on their way to audition for the latest Britney Spears commercial.