Picks and Pans Review: Dogfight
River Phoenix, Lili Taylor
The title comes from a Marine practice of giving parties where the man bringing the ugliest woman gets a prize. That "dogfight" tradition hardly boosts the Corps' image, but it's a strong premise for a movie.
Director Nancy (True Love) Savoca and writer Bob Comfort, an ex-Marine, exploit the premise straightforwardly, with Taylor (Mystic Pizza) as a rumpled waitress whom Phoenix (Running on Empty) picks up in San Francisco just before shipping out in 1963.
Comfort's script feels archaic—there's a brief go at an anti—Vietnam War notion—but he has a wry touch. When Taylor complains that Marines swear too much, one of Phoenix's buddies, Anthony Clark, drawls, "They're just words. After a while, you don't even hear it. Don't mean s—-."
The romance involving Phoenix and Taylor is sweetly believable. While its resolution is lame, the two young actors appealingly go through the trials and joys of mutual attraction. (R)
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: The Time of My Life!
- 45 Pages of Oscar!
- The Pistorius Trial: Why Did He Kill Her?
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine