After reading a bunch of bad reviews about FEELING MINNESOTA, but
hearing that Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs, I went wondering what
they liked about it. I've now seen it, and I'm still wondering.
FEELING MINNESOTA is a would be romantic comedy, but actually is
about as tasty as bowl of cold mush on a winter morning. This is a
mean spirited show, that will probably make you wish you had never
wasted your time. It also serves as further proof, if any is needed,
that Keanu Reeves has a proclivity for choosing bad material as if his
agent gets him a bonus for doing them.
In one of the first scenes, a woman named Freddie (Cameron Diaz)
is being chased by some hoods through a remote Industrial district.
When a man finally grabs her and pins her down with a big gun in her
face, it looks like we are about to have a gang rape scene. Instead we
find the man demanding that she live up to her bargain and marry Sam
Clayton (Vincent D'Onofrio).
Soon we switch to their wedding where she meets Sam's brother
Jjaks (Keanu Reeves) for the first time. [No this is not a typo, his
name is "Jjaks."] She quickly gets Jjaks in a bathroom and rapes him.
I supposed you could label it surprise sex instead if you prefer, but
certainly there is no seduction or even a hint that she likes him
before she starts pulling his clothes off.
At the wedding is Sam's mother Norma played embarrassingly bad by
Tuesday Weld. Here is an actress who once could charm the bark off the
trees. Today she looks bloated and lifeless. Other than show up, she
does nothing for the picture.
Dan Aykroyd repeats his bumbling character routine in the show.
He plays a caricature of an incompetent cop by the name of Ben
Costikyan. Aykroyd makes a mess of every scene he appears in, but then
to be fair, so does everyone else.
I kept think about poor Minnesota. In films great (FARGO) and
worthless (FEELING MINNESOTA), it is shown as a bleak and forgotten
place populated by crooks and lowlifes. Granted I have only been there
twice, but I liked the state. Oh well, perhaps there is a producer
right now working on a picture that show the state in a better light.
Speaking of light, the cinematography by Walt Lloyd is on the dark
side of depressing. He uses dull grays and blues to accentuate the
saturnine tone of the writing and the directing, both by first time
writer and director Steven Baigleman. Well, at least Baigleman's next
film now can only be better.
The saddest part for me was watching talented and attractive
Cameron Diaz give the first bad performance I had seen her give. I
loved her in the great low budget film THE LAST SUPPER and thought she
was good too in SHE'S THE ONE. Here her work is totally unconvincing.
She gives an unsympathetic performance that makes you yearn for the
real Diaz. She even has the word "slut" tattooed on her arm to make
sure you get the point. Subtle this script is not.
After lots more sex between Jjaks and Freddie, included the
cliched scene of them doing it in a car and then making the car roll
into the traffic by hitting the gear shift lever, Jjaks decides to
leave her because "it feels too good." He comes back, surprise, and
they leave together. There is a subplot about Jjaks going back to get
money out of his brother's house for her. Also, there is a fair of
petty thievery and random violence. One gory scenes includes an ear
being partially cut off and then carried around. From here, you can
write the script yourself and probably guess most of it. Not that
you'd want to bother of course.
Before closing, I want to share a couple of little "gems" from the
script. Freddie philosophizes that, "Time is like an orange. It's
round. It repeats itself. Everything happens for a reason." Probably
want to put that on your wall at work. In a scene at the pool of a
cheap motel that is a take off on the motel scene from LEAVING LAS
VEGAS, Freddie tells Jjaks that, "I dream of being in a Las Vegas hotel
where all of the towels smell like Downy Fabric Softener." Gosh, what
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes