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Picks and Pans Review: Mi Vida Loca/my Crazy Life

updated 08/29/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/29/1994 01:00AM

Angel Aviles, Seidy Lopez

Director-writer Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging) did her homework for this stripped-down movie about Hispanic girl gangs in L.A.'s Echo Park. Anders once lived in the troubled neighborhood with her two young daughters, then devoted (by her estimation) an additional five or six years to observing and befriending a number of "homegirls" and their men. So one is not inclined to doubt the verisimilitude of language or attitudes or even hairstyles (some serious teasing) displayed by such characters as Sad Girl (Aviles) and Mousie (Lopez), both of whom have children by the same drug dealer (Jacob Vargas). But the acting is scarcely better than perfunctory—despite all her travails, Aviles's Sad Girl is, at worst, merely glum—and Anders hasn't figured out how to make a story out of it all. The movie never builds up any emotional or narrative steam. It's like having to watch a row of dominoes waiting for one determining finger flick. (R)

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