Sweet and dippy, MOJAVE MOON is more screw-loose than screwball. Inspired by Jonathan Demme's 1986 SOMETHING WILD, this highway odyssey journeys through middle-aged lust by way of Lolita-ville. With welcome good humor, the behavioral tics of its lovestruck principals stand out like
signposts along the way.
Recently divorced Al McCord (Danny Aiello) is an easy mark for nubile young Ellie (Angelina Jolie) when she wanders into the LA diner he frequents seeking a ride to her hometown in the Mojave Desert. Despite striking out with Ellie after he drives her home, Al meets her gorgeous mom, Julie (Anne
Archer). Unfortunately, Julie has an intimidating live-in boyfriend named Boyd (Michael Biehn). After Ellie leaves to elope with her boyfriend Kaiser (Jack Noseworthy), Boyd departs in his truck for work. When his car won't start, Al finds himself stranded with Julie. The two then have a sexual
When Al gets his car running, Julie lifts his wallet to ensure a future meeting. Al has a blow-out en route to LA. Upon opening his trunk, Al discovers the apparently dead body of Kaiser, placed there by control freak Boyd who thought he had killed him. He drives home, and parks the car. By the
time both Ellie and Julie turn up on his doorstep, Al is in a panic. He finds that thugs have suddenly stolen his automobile; they later abandon it after discovering Kaiser in the trunk. Only knocked unconscious, Kaiser now searches for Ellie. While Al seeks his missing car, the insanely jealous
Boyd drives to LA and kidnaps his errant family. Determined to rescue Julie and Ellie, Al has his friend Sal (Alfred Molina), an unemployed actor, pretend to be a menacing character and scare Boyd back to the desert. Instead, Boyd overpowers them and then deposits Al, Sal, Ellie, and Julie inside
a car which he intends to push over the cliff with his truck. Instead, Al knocks Boyd unconscious in his truck, frees his friends, and guides Boyd's truck over the cliff where it explodes.
Despite the dearth of wit in the screenplay and the director's clumsiness with black comedy whimsy, MOJAVE MOON is marginally amusing. The cast strikes some sparks, despite characters written as pawns of the scriptwriter's fabricated midsummer's madness. The film's less inspired conceptions
revolve around malarkey about romantic risk-taking, the preposterous character of Boyd (who seems too deranged to have ever functioned in society), and tasteless jokes about necrophilia stemming from Kaiser's presumed death.
Given all this manufactured silliness and the screenwriter's penchant for using serendipity to square all his love triangles, MOJAVE MOON scores with the unexpectedly believable mature romance between Al and Julie. Danny Aiello is endearing as the uptight non-swinging single who rediscovers his
youthful ardor. While Julie initially seems like a Stepford wife, the resourceful Archer shows the iron will beneath her frilly aproned surface. They anchor the audience against the film's more bombastic side. (Violence, nudity, extreme profanity, substance abuse, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Sweet and dippy, MOJAVE MOON is more screw-loose than screwball. Inspired by Jonathan Demme's 1986 SOMETHING WILD, this highway odyssey journeys through middle-aged lust by way of Lolita-ville. With welcome good humor, the behavioral tics of its lovestruck… (more)