Hi-Life

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Drama

Holiday spirit is measured in shots for the motley collection of Upper West Siders who populate this Christmas trifle, whose snippy New York facade is wrapped around a treacly soft center. Handsome Ray (Campbell Scott) tends bar at the Hi-Life and is still nursing the wounds inflicted by his ex, the shallow but stunning Maggie (Daryl Hannah). That Maggie's...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Holiday spirit is measured in shots for the motley collection of Upper West Siders who populate this Christmas trifle, whose snippy New York facade is wrapped around a treacly soft center. Handsome Ray (Campbell Scott) tends bar at the

Hi-Life and is still nursing the wounds inflicted by his ex, the shallow but stunning Maggie (Daryl Hannah). That Maggie's brother Jimmy (Eric Stoltz), a selfish aspiring actor, is dating Ray's sister Susan (Moria Kelly) makes the situation that little bit more painful. Susan appears at the

bar pleading for $900; Jimmy has told her it's for Maggie -- which, of course, Susan can't tell Ray -- but it's actually Jimmy who needs the money so he can pay off his secret gambling debt to testy bookmaker Fatty (Charles Durning). Fatty, in turn, dumps the job of making sure Jimmy pays on local

tough guy Minor (Peter Riegert). Ray, ever loyal, sets off to get the cash for Susan by collecting on the dozens of small loans he's made to various barkeeps, waiters and hostesses at nearby establishments. Tagging along is April (Katrin Cartlidge), a boozy Brit nursing a crush on Ray and sensing

an opportunity to cadge free drinks. Lots of things happen, and you know from pretty early in the game that everybody's going to end up at Hi-Life, with the inevitable wacky consequences. The story is just an excuse for the capable cast to riff on their characters, who will be familiar to New

Yorkers of a certain age, which isn't the same as saying they're particularly interesting. It's especially dispiriting to see the incandescent Cartlidge (NAKED) playing Georgy Girl on a bender. But the movie's opening montage, vintage footage of guys in Santa suits engaging in tacky photo ops, is

an absolute delight.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Holiday spirit is measured in shots for the motley collection of Upper West Siders who populate this Christmas trifle, whose snippy New York facade is wrapped around a treacly soft center. Handsome Ray (Campbell Scott) tends bar at the Hi-Life and is stil… (more)

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