Summer of Sam
** GM
Starring: John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Adrien Brody


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This thing is a bit of a mess.

Spike Lee's examination of the local reaction to the David Berkowitz killing spree in the Bronx COULD have been riveting, but what we end up with is some really interesting bits overshadowed by a whole mess of pointless sex and a lot of meandering.

The Son of Sam starts to murder people while they're making out in cars, and we get to see how this affects the obnoxious players, cops, gangsters and other yutzes in the neighborhood the killings start in. Vinny (John Leguizamo) is married to Mira Sorvino and has some complex about only doing crazy freaky sex stuff when cheating on her, and only being allowed to do vanilla stuff with his wife in the eyes of God. Thus, Mira thinks it's her fault. Vinny's friend Richie (Adrien Brody) is a former homeboy of his that's getting into the punk scene and freaking all of his old friends out. So, in a misguided attempt at justice, all of the aforementioned old friends start thinking he might be the Son of Sam, and it shows just how stupid and dangerous a group of overconfident honkys can get.

There's some really cool imagery and some really powerful sequences here, but the complete oversaturation of dance parties and graphic sex just dilutes a lot of the more intense moments. I'm all for putting Jennifer Esposito in a porn film, so don't think I'm a prude, but so much of this was just unnecessary and it seemed like Spike's ulterior motive was to get some new stroke material.

"House of Buggin'" legend Leguizamo is good as always - it's hard to believe sometimes that this is the same guy who made the most attractive drag queen in "To Wong Foo" - and the cast does an admirable job with what they have. The stylizing worked at times, but overall, it just left me with a feeling of 'eh' and a little bit of 'ugh.' I'm pretty sure that ain't what Spike was going for.

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