Mild-manner Charlie Driggs (Daniels) thinks he’s a closet rebel – until he meets a real one. Sexy, free-spirited and totally reckless, Lulu (Griffith) hijacks Charlie for an outrageous spree filled with offbeat sex, petty larceny and hilarious mayhem. But when Lulu’s psychotic ex-con husband Ray (Liotta) puts the brakes on their joyride, Charlie suddenly realizes that his walk on the wild side may not only cost him his job and his girlfriend – it just might cost him his life – in this Golden Globe-nominated film.
Something Wild 7.25
eyelights: Ray Liotta. the cameos.
eyesores: its predictability.
“I’m a rebel. I am! I just channelled my rebellion into the mainstream.”
I never really wanted to see ‘Something Wild’. I remember that it played extensively on First Choice Superchannel, not long after it was released, back in 1986; I saw a few bits of it here and there and it looked boring to me. I ignored it ever since.
However, the Jonathan Demme film has grown into a cult classic since then and has even been released on home video by the Criterion Collection. So, when I found it bundled together with ‘Desperately Seeking Susan‘, I decided I might as well give it a shot.
I needn’t have bothered.
Don’t get me wrong: ‘Something Wild’ is a perfectly decent movie. It just isn’t anything particularly special: It tells the story of Charles, who is hijacked by Lulu one afternoon after she confronts him about not paying for his lunch at a New York City diner.
After concluding that he is a rebel wrapped up in propriety, she offers him a lift back to work – only to take him out to New Jersey instead. There, she steals liquor, has him rent out a motel room and proceeds to handcuff him to the bed and !@#$ his brains out.
Even though he claims to be married with kids, Charles decides to spend the weekend with Lulu in her Pennsylvania hometown, pretending to be newly-married together to gain the approval of her mother, and then as a beard for her 10-year high school reunion.
It’s all fun and games.
But then they bump into Ray, Lulu (né Aubrey)’s husband, a convict who has just escaped from jail. He takes them on a dangerous ride, eventually snatching Aubrey from Charles under duress. But Charles taps into his rebellious side to get her back.
Ray is not a happy camper.
And he’ll be back.
Frankly, I thought that this mini-road trip film was entertaining, at times amusing, and is certainly well put together and well performed: Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith certainly had chemistry, and Ray Liotta was suitably creepy and edgy as Aubrey’s ex.
But I don’t understand its popularity: It’s good, but not great. Even its promise of “offbeat sex” is unfulfilled; ‘Something Wild’ is mildly sexy at the onset, but is rather vanilla by even 80s’ standards – and then tapers off completely afterwards.
Still, it does make for a good double feature with “Desperately Seeking Susan’.
At least someone got that part right.
Date of viewing: April 3, 2016