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Ready, Set, 'Go': Doug Liman's Homage to Tarantino

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 9, 1999

  Movie Critic

Katie Holmes and friends get a move on in "Go." (Columbia TriStar)

Doug Liman
Desmond Askew;
Jay Mohr;
Taye Diggs;
Scott Wolf;
Sarah Polley;
Katie Holmes;
Timothy Oliphant;
William Fichtner;
J.E. Freeman;
Jane Krakowski
Running Time:
1 hour, 42 minutes
Drug use, topless nudity, bare butts, profanity and some violence
The outrageous antics of the just-say-"Go" generation are the engine driving the latest furiously paced, perversely entertaining "Pulp Fiction" for puppies. Although it's not so nihilistic as Quentin Tarantino's noir satire, the movie does share the cracked sensibilities, serpentine structure and squirm-inducing potential of the earlier tale.

"Go," the second film from "Swingers" director Doug Liman, blatantly borrows the three-part structure of Tarantino's opus, as well as "Pulp's" framing device: a couple conversing in a booth at an all-night hashery. Shameless as that may sound, debuting writer John August's script is wildly inventive, and its kooky characters are blessed with their kooky charms.

The movie, which includes a carjacking, lap-dancing and drug-induced hallucinations, will undoubtedly offend parental units, the Christian Coalition and other stick-in-the-mudskis. But, as with the nastier "Trainspotting," the moviemakers aren't exactly condoning these activities. It's the spirit of "What, me worry?" behind their uninformed decisions and reckless behavior that inspires the tale.

As the "Go" kids see it, the light's always green; caution is for the middle-aged and you stop only if you're dead. That thinking, while spot on, naturally leads to a series of dangerous misadventures hilariously acted by an ensemble cast of up-and-comers led by "The Sweet Hereafter's" Sarah Polley and "Dawson Creek's" Katie Holmes.

Polley and Holmes portray a pair of supermarket checkers whose attempt to broker a drug deal sets the story in motion. Set in L.A. and Las Vegas on Christmas Eve, the movie also follows the exploits of a couple of rave-bound soap stars (Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr) and a pair of best buds (Desmond Askew and Taye Diggs) raising hell in Vegas.

The three narratives overlap at crucial junctures to complicate, enhance and advance the story – your basic hurly-burly, rock-and-roller-coaster ride from Sodom to Gomorrah. It's never in danger of jumping the track. The filmmakers and their cast are clearly in touch with the slang, fashions and vibes of today's youth culture. Sly, verbally hip and visually jazzy, the movie is sure to resonate with its target audience. It's good to "Go."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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