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Movie review: 'Repo Chick'

This 'Chick' takes a wrong turn.

January 20, 2011|By Mark Olsen

Decidedly not a sequel to "Repo Man," that 1984 landmark of punk and paranoia in Los Angeles, "Repo Chick" is nevertheless written and directed by that earlier film's creator, Alex Cox. This time out, an entitled party girl (Jaclyn Jonet) is disinherited but soon finds she has a talent for repo work; she also stumbles into a government conspiracy involving terrorists and nuclear weapons that could lead to armageddon.

Cox at his best has a freewheeling insight into the construction (and dismantling) of social systems, but here his critique of celebutant culture and consumerist complacency feels slapdash, ill-formed and out-of-touch.

The film was shot mostly on green-screen soundstages with backgrounds added in later, giving it the garish feel of exotic karaoke videos — which sounds much better than it plays. Cox mixes that with railroad-set miniatures for his exteriors, which when it works creates a uniquely distorted world — but it doesn't work often enough.

Populating his cast with familiar faces like Miguel Sandoval, Zander Schloss and Chloe Webb (who played one of the title characters in arguably his most cohesive film, "Sid and Nancy"), Cox is often roadblocked by the simple fact that his lead actress is terrible.

Cox might yet again pull something astonishing from his ethos of trashcan poetry, but it simply didn't happen with "Repo Chick."

"Repo Chick." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes. Playing at the Downtown Independent, Los Angeles.

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