TERESA'S TATTOO is a bizarre and comic tale of underworld rivalry, spiced with abductions and escapes, fraudulent FBI agents, and national secrets hidden in a pair of earrings. An unpalatable concoction, the film went straight to video after a few poorly received festival showings.
Teresa (Adrienne Shelly), a mousy math whiz, is kidnapped, along with her fun-loving pal Sara (Nancy McKeon), by thugs headed by frozen-food magnate Carl (C. Thomas Howell). Carl needs a quick replacement for his recently deceased hostage Gloria (also played by Shelly) in order to pull off an
extortion scheme. The girls are drugged and when Teresa wakes up, she has been made up to resemble Gloria, with bimbo attire, red hair, and a dragon tattooed on her chest.
At a back-alley meeting with rival thug Wheeler (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Gloria's brother (Casey Siemaszko), Carl offers Teresa in exchange for stolen holographs, unaware that the holographs are hidden in the earrings they left on Gloria's corpse. Teresa escapes only to find that the FBI agent
she turns to for help is running Carl's operation. Her budding flame Rick (Jonathan Silverman) comes to her aid but is abducted by Wheeler, just as Teresa is reapprehended by Carl.
Teresa and Sara discover Gloria's body in Carl's factory, take the holographic earrings, and escape once again. Back in Teresa's home, her roommate Bruno (Joe Pantoliano) sets to work decoding the holographs, which contain top secret details of the space program. The various goons and crooked
federal agents converge on Teresa's home, but she announces that the space-program data has been transmitted to the university and the media, and the bad guys retreat.
Saddled with witless dialogue and flat characterizations, TERESA'S TATTOO is an unredeemable mess, far more interesting for its behind-the-scenes goings-on than its onscreen inanity. In her feature film directorial debut, music video director Julie Cypher cast both her longtime companion Melissa
Etheridge, and her ex-husband Lou Diamond Phillips (they divorced in 1991 after Cypher fell in love with Etheridge). Etheridge, who appears in a cameo role as a hooker, also contributed five original songs to the score, arguably the film's strongest selling point. Coproducer Philip McKeon, a
former child actor, recruited his sister Nancy for a key role. McKeon, who appears to be having a great time as wild girl Sara, almost makes TERESA'S TATTOO enjoyable in spots. The rest of the acting ranges from bad to worse. Almost all the characters appear to be intellectually challenged and are
excruciatingly overacted--in Phillips's case, bizarrely accented as well. (Violence)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: TERESA'S TATTOO is a bizarre and comic tale of underworld rivalry, spiced with abductions and escapes, fraudulent FBI agents, and national secrets hidden in a pair of earrings. An unpalatable concoction, the film went straight to video after a few poorly r… (more)