Mar 29, 2014

Review: Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012)

Quite a cast that Billy Bob Thornton has been able to assemble for this movie. Old-timers Robert Duvall and John Hurt are some of my favourites and both of them do some pretty good work in Jayne Mansfield's Car.

They both represent totally different cultures, only being similar in that Jim Caldwell (Duvall) was once married to Kinsley Bedford's (Hurt) recently deceased wife. Bedford has brought along his children to be a part of his wife's funeral who wished to be buried from where she's from.

This is set in 1969, so Vietnam talk is big. Both of these clans comes from backgrounds of war, all with varying levels of success, failure, action and non-action. Kevin Bacon's character Carroll for example is a easily identifiable hippie type, who's an advocate against war, much to the chagrine of his father Jim.

Kingsley Bedford's family are thrust into unfamiliar territory with some predictable results. I guess that's to be expected but football and rain jokes are a little tired if you ask me. Still, it is an interesting melting pot that's presented here.

My biggest criticism of Jayne Mansfield's Car is the pacing. It goes at an extremely plodding pace and it does feel at times that nothing is really happening to advance the story. There are three montages with music that I find a bit bizarre as well, this isn't a Rocky movie.

Billy Bob Thornton's character Skip is really bizarre too but the more he is onscreen the more you get to know him and learn to like him. He delivers a huge monologue that's pretty important to his character. It's also one of the best examples of what makes this movie so slow paced. This is like a play somewhat but it's an important scene in being able to understand Skip.

In the end, Jayne Mansfield's Car does a lot of talking but I don't really feel like it delivered. Simply, it should have been tightened up a bit in the editing room. It's well-casted though and it's always nice seeing a good group of talented actors all together like this.


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