Based on the novel by Manhattan writer Joel Rose which in turn took it's title from a classic Dead Kennedy's song, this dark satire of urban life is set in the early 1980s, back when an as yet ungentrified Lower East Side was still a mad, bad and often very dangerous place to find yourself living. After agreeing to wed Annabelle (Clara Bellar), an opportunistic French stripper who proposes marriage for "political reasons," nebbishy newsagent Joe Pelta (David Krumholtz) next agrees to move into a much bigger apartment in a terribly run-down East Village building when Annabelle announces she's pregnant. Savoring the irony that he'll be starting his family on the same block his mother's immigrant family once lived when they were first starting out, Joe is suckered into becoming the president of the building's cantankerous co-op board and is soon taking his turn spending the night guarding the building from thieving neighborhood junkies. Determined to beat the odds and make a safe home for his wife and unborn baby, Joe instead finds himself the ringleader of a circus starring his insane neighbors, including Scarlet (Heather Burns), a Tama Janowitz-styled party girl who's always either drunk or strung out, possibly both; Delilah (Damian Young), a droll cross dresser who seems to know everything that's going on in the building and the neighborhood; Spike (Larry Gilliard Jr.), a reportedly brilliant, up-and-coming artist who's caught the interest of Ms. Ciccone herself; Butch (Zak Orth), a Marxist Columbia grad student who can afford his radical convictions; and Carlos DeJesus (Paul Calderon), an intimidating, long-time squatter who shares an apartment his dangerous delinquent son, Segundo (Jon Budinoff). Carlos hasn't paid rent in the eight-odd years he's lived in the building, and no one is about to make him; Butch even feels that since Carlos is the only one who's ever really protected the building, he shouldn't be expected to. But by the time Carlos's apartment burns in a fire that could only be considered suspicious if everyone in the building didn't already know that it was deliberately set, even Butch has a motive to force Carlos out. Told out of strict chronological order for no particular reason, but carrying some real urban grit and grime under it's nails, Alan Taylor's film will resonate with any New Yorker who's played real-estate roulette in Fun City. If you know there's so such place as Avenue E in the East Village, or if you've ever taken a bath in your kitchen, this one's for you.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: NR
- Review: Based on the novel by Manhattan writer Joel Rose which in turn took it's title from a classic Dead Kennedy's song, this dark satire of urban life is set in the early 1980s, back when an as yet ungentrified Lower East Side was still a mad, bad and often ver… (more)