Written by / 8/02/2012 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA DIRECTS THE COTTON CLUB

year: 1984 cast: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, James Remar, Gregory Hines rating: *1/2
If there’s one person dumber than the usually unattractive tough powerful guy who insists his beautiful girlfriend hang out with a younger, more charming guy... in this case Richard Gere’s Lucky, a talented musician... it’s that good looking guy who goes along with it and eventually, like in every film with this premise, falls deeply and hopelessly in love.

Well that’s the bottom line in this lavish depression-era timepiece directed by Francis Ford Coppola, produced by THE GODFATHER honcho Robert Evans and co-written by Mario Puzo. The scenes involving the gangsters, including a bloody fight establishing the Edward G. Robinson-looking James Remar’s Dutch Shultz as a man not to be reckoned with, lacks the vibe of being part of the action, or inside the situation, like the stuff Coppola used to provide us.

And with so many performers, like Gregory Hines and his brother tap dancing at the titular COTTON CLUB (a meeting place for high-rolling gangsters) and Richard Gere’s actual Cornet playing, you’d think Coppola would have made a documentary centering on gin-soaked jazz instead of mobsters. Because through the pallid romance between Gere and mob moll Diane Lane as Remar’s jealousy mounts, and Gregory Hine’s annoyingly stubborn courtship with a gorgeous singer, only the music stands out.

But even that gets tiresome without a worthy plot or interesting characters. So, like many of Coppola's movies post-APOCALYPSE NOW, this is all dressed up with nowhere to go. Yet despite the flaws, Diane Lane plays the part with gusto... and she was 18 years old!
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