Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hotwire My Heart

Repo Chick(2009)
Directed By Alex Cox
Alex Cox's "Repo Man" is remembered if remembered at all as the Emilio Estevez movie with the punk soundtrack.
Vague memories of downtown Los Angeles and neon green glowing car trunks might stumble toward your memory as well.
Over a decade later, and still far under the radar Cox returns with an update for the 2000's with "Repo Chick".
Repo Chick is the story of a disgustingly wealthy heiress named Pixxie who lives her life according to her parents in and out of clubs, police cars, and sandwiched between backup dancers.
Her family has finally decided to disinherit her if she cannot find a job.
Her only explanation is that "they be lying at my probation hearing".
Her car is repossessed and when she goes to retrieve it, discovers that one of the members of her entourage is related to one of the repo men.
Small world.
Pixxie decides to claim her fortune by staying on as a "repo chick".
Naturally her entourage is also trying to make a reality show about Pixxie's new life.
Here the wafer thin rationality of the film ends and cartoon logic and the extremes of political parody take over.
I should mention for instance that the film takes place in a future America where "the banks caused a housing crisis by selling homes to people who couldn't afford them", the country has collapsed to the point where the only remaining industries are the military and repossessions. Mounds of garbage litter the landscape like Mike Judge's "Idiocracy".
The special effects amateurish and stylized; ultra-flat cartoon style backdrops filling out the scenery.
Likely a reaction against the all encompassing 3d sheik that drives the multiplexes.
How Pixxie goes about her repossessions is gloriously reduced to only reaction shots of people fleeing in terror.
She repossesses football stadiums, malls, houses, beds from under sleeping children etc., or so we are told by Miguel Sandoval her guide to the world of repossessions.
Sandoval is often a bit actor in other films, but Cox here as in his nativity farce "Three Businessmen" finds ways of using of his odd charms.
The only real "action" in the film takes place aboard a train carrying several powerful authority figures (a senator, a media mogul, a religious leader, etc) which Pixxie tries to repossess (while the train is moving) only to become embroiled in a left-wing terror plot involving veganism and golf.
The pleasures to be had from watching Repo Chick are in its unpredictability, the plot begins unhinged and proceeds into tatters from there.
Pixxie's life as a model/actress/clothing designer/fragrance maker/and general purveyor of meaningless things make her an ironic choice for repossessions, now reclaiming the crap that she previously slathered her face onto.
"This film is based on true events only the dimensions have been changed.", those dimensions of political satire, between the terrorists, the rich, the military, and the working stiffs waiting to repossess it all, have all been flattened to comic book dimensions both visually and comically.
Repo Chick is trashy, clever satire aimed a culture that idolizes slick animation and soulless glamour, and that its attacks rarely get specific is also apart of its embrace of the modern flippant "psh whatever" ethos that empowers youth markets everywhere.
The characters in Repo Chick handle there self-awareness with some wit, and in the final scene especially, a measure of grace.
The humor wont work for everyone at times it failed to gather anything greater than bemusement, but the jokes that fail are forgotten, and the ones that endure are like junkyard treasures that instantly possess you to run out and show to all your friends.
Repo-Chick is trash in rare form.

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