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Movie Review: Groove

I don’t want people to think I’m some kind of snob.

I’ve been writing about some pretty obscure movies lately: THE LOVE MACHINE, 8 ½ WOMEN, etc. But that doesn’t mean I think I’m above seeing crass Hollywood commercialism at its finest. Far from it. It’s just that for some reason or another I haven’t bothered writing about the summer “blockbusters” that I’ve seen. Take for example, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2.

After seeing the flick last weekend, I had the review for it planned in my head all week, but I was either too busy, too lazy or too bored to type it up. And now that it’s a week later and I’ve seen GROOVE, I think what I had to say about M:I-2 ties into this film as well.

What I was going to write about M:I-2 was a lamentation of where has the real concept of story has gone in Hollywood? I can’t figure out how these people keep making these impossibly long, convoluted movies that don’t have anything to say. What drives me particularly nuts is when a male character meets a female character and they fall instantly in “love” for no reason other than the script tells them to. This is the main “plot” to M:I-2.

Tom Cruise is a spy. Thandie Newton is a thief Tom has to hire for a job. So, they have a car chase on a road on the side of a cliff. Their wheels lock and as both cars spin around uncontrollably, Tom and Thandie gaze into each other’s eyes and in the next scene they’ve just finished making the beast with two backs. Where’s the goddamn romance? And of course, as in just about every action movie these days, waking up naked in bed next to each other always automatically means “I love you”. Is that how people who look like Tom Cruise get involved in relationships in real life? Shit, every chick I meet has some bizarre metaphysical reason to even go out on even one date with me.

So, I went to see GROOVE with a skeptical eye. It was one of the most talked about films at this year’s Sundance and even lame-ass Entertainment Weekly has a three-page article about it. When an indie film gets mainstream recognition nowadays, it’s more than likely it’s going to suck. It’s gonna be a middle-of-the-road, tepid, mindless trifle, which GROOVE is. But it’s a decent flick altogether.

After a great opening credits sequence of San Francisco ravers getting ready for a big party, the film slowly started to sink downhill. It was like a lame ’90s version of THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY (instead of a disco, GROOVE takes place at an all-night rave). But then something happened. I don’t know if the movie got any better or if I simply started appreciating it more. But it made me think of M:I-2 and the review I had blown off for it.

GROOVE has good character development and, better than that, good character relationship development. It does have all the standard movie type of relationships. There’s the couple that can’t stand each other that ends up falling in love, the “perfect” couple that experiences heartbreak and the older, struggling couple that finds renewed love through adversity. Pretty cliché, but written pretty convincingly and earnestly, even though I do think the flick is a remake of THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY. The press wants to compare GROOVE to NASHVILLE, but, trust me, it’s TGIF.